Teng chose to temporarily sidestep a highly successful music career to pursue her interest in sustainability. The new album, and her upcoming live shows, will embody her consistent contradictions. Although her new album often questions our world's growing dependence on technology, it also deliberately uses more technology than her previous works. The rich, multi-layered sound of the new album, as well as her plans for the live shows, reflects this new attitude. In concert, Teng, percussionist Alex Wong, and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Hamlin, a trio assembled for this tour, play acoustic instruments but also use looping devices and vocal harmonizers to enable them to create a fuller, more intricate live sound than is normally possible for a trio. "When I first set out to write songs for this album a lot of my classmates said 'You could write a climate change album ...' And I thought, 'Well that sounds like the recipe for a really awful album,'" she said in a recent conversation. "But on some level that is what I'm trying to do, and so it's a big experiment for me; how do you write good albums that are wrestling with big questions, that is not propaganda, that is not preachy, but ... once people listen to it they go about their life feeling like they are changed somehow. That's my hope for this album."
[Originally published in September, 2013.]