Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Loving ... Hotel Neon's self-titled debut
I am rather taken with the self-titled debut from Hotel Neon ... the latest side-project from brothers Andrew and Michael Tasselmyer of The Sound of Rescue.
I think hanging out with Shannon Penner (Orbit Over Luna) and Michel de Jong (Arafúra) whilst working on Penner’s latest release has really influenced them to create this utterly delightful series of ambient soundscapes.
Not that they weren't capable of creating things of beauty ... their work as The Sound of Rescue is something very special indeed ... but this feels like a departure ... like a new approach and one I welcome with both hands. For what they have created on the seven tracks that comprise their first outing as Hotel Neon is something beautiful indeed.
Their approach to these ambient soundscapes is to bring melody to the fore from the very start ... their pieces place a real & tangible focus on melody. This isn't simply dark or noisy but sweeping and pastoral too ... swap the instruments they used for orchestral strings & you’d have a neo-classical masterpiece on your hands & in your ears.
Not that Hotel Neon *needs* strings ... it doesn't. It is perfectly formed as it is ... especially with the repetitive percussive motifs that provide a sense of depth. Take the opening track, for example ... “A Lament” has a truly melancholic air about it ... it has a haunting melody that is underpinned by a repetitive rhythm that is reminiscent of footsteps. It is utterly beguiling.
At times I think of Boards of Canada when I listen to Hotel Neon ... a striped back BOC without their polyrhythms and trademark wonkiness ... a BOC with an emphasis on the organic. There is an organic feel to the tracks presented on this release ... like sounds that remind me of flowing water and a ticking clock on “Dust and Drag” ... that I take great pleasure in.
And that is, I guess, the summation of this release - it is a pleasure to listen to ... a relaxing, soothing, swirling, moving pleasure that rewards the listener after repeated listens.
The Tasselmyer’s have created something beautiful indeed and I am grateful for the opportunity they have given me to speak about their music. What they have created with a 2-track USB recording device, assorted cheap guitars and effects processors, and a personal computer … is simply remarkable. If ambient soundscapes are your thing then you will not be disappointed with this release.
In addition, I am fascinated and inspired by their approach to releasing this album ... by selling it on audio tape ... as well as a download. I would love to hear how this recording evolves through time and through wear. It makes me long for the days of my Walkman and a bag full of mixtapes. I wish them well with this part of their venture.
All in, I was deeply impressed by this release and know it will stay on my iPhone in the weeks and months to come. The Tasselmyers are a talented team and I look forward to more from them either in their The Sound of Rescue guise or in this their latest incarnation - Hotel Neon. You can't hide talent, afterall.
I have embedded the album below ... please take time to listen and, if you can, support truly talented independent music.
Hotel Neon - released today as a download or a cassette tape crafted with human loving care: hand-numbered, hand-labeled, with hand-written thank you note and included digital download.