|1||All My Dreams Are Nightmares||3:00|
|5||Vittore al Corpo||2:12|
Flora Yin Wong’s ravishing interiority finds lucid expression on an absorbing second album for Modern Love, manifesting her instrumental storytelling in a syncretic bind of supernatural themes with hyperrealist, concrète sound design.
Through ten parts, Flora crystallises the ennui that followed an uncanny, disorienting trip to East and Southeast Asia. “On an unexpected stopover in Hong Kong after five years away, my friends took me to a Bazi reader one night - something I was curious about, but much of a ritual for them - ” Flora recalls. “My father told me that when I was born, he had obtained an auspicious reading that since stayed like a guiding talisman with me. It was almost past midnight but people were still lined up, rather shaken and visibly upset, to see the old man. He had kind eyes and asked me why I was there and I said I was at a crossroads. He asked me my time and date of birth, and told me to pick one of his four little white canary birds as a vessel for divination.”
This was the final stretch of an ultimately aimless few months across the continent, including a 20 year overdue return with her father to his adoptive family in his hometown Kuala Lumpur - for many reasons, ended up as a strange and uncanny trip. She spent solitude in a haunted house during the quiet snowfall of Kyoto, where she might have offended some spirit... and nights in mountain temples with South Korean monks, and an equally strange feeling return to the Island of the Gods.
“It culminated in what felt like a final disillusionment with Asia - sudden deaths and a breakdown in beliefs - somewhere I never really have or will be able to connect with. The process of the reading summoned a final blow to my gut - an overwhelming sense of rootlessness, and understanding that all there is is emptiness and entropy. No birth-divined protection, just a measurement of the night sky based off nothing and everything.”
Heavy with a sense of nightmarish dissociation and grief, Flora read about Giuseppe Tartini’s ‘Violin Sonata in G Minor’, aka the Devil’s Trill Sonata, a notoriously tricky c.18th composition which attempted to transcribe music heard in a dream, which the composer felt he could never fully bring into reality. It’s this soporific motif that binds and underpins ’Cold Reading’, finding Flora chasing the dragon of fleeting fantasy through passages of etched melancholy, pinched with hypnagogic jerks that linger in the memory.
From her use of the ‘Devil’s Trill’ Sonata in ‘All My Dreams are Nightmares’ through evocations of subtropical humidity in the Bryn Jones-esque, resonant hand-played percussion of ‘Konna’ and ‘Banjar’, to a breathtaking dreampop denouement ‘Nectar Dripping’ and the Enya-like lush of ‘Beautiful Crisis’, Flora blooms her ideas with an openended ambiguity so often missing from so called Ambient music, ushering the listener into a soundworld that disturbs and displaces, just as much as it calms.