Hotel Neon
Hotel Neon

2013 / 2015





The spheroidal self-titled seven-track tape debut by twin brothers Andrew & Michael Tasselmyer aka Hotel Neon has originally been self-released in the Summer of 2013. This is an important remark to make, as its prismatic flowerage translates formidably into hibernal times as well. It so happens that Tokyo’s Home Normal label resurrects the amethystine mica and reissues it in January 2015 on CD and as a digital download. Available to stream and purchase at Bandcamp, Hotel Neon hasn’t lost anything of its interdependent aura, still caulking all interstices where exogenous detriments could ruin the fibrillar entanglements of – as the brothers state – "assorted cheap guitars and effects processors." This is no collection of bonfire ditties though; Wilmington, Delaware is far away from the fissured valleys of Arizona. The guitars are never audible in the classical sense of the term, their textures are both leached and fortified, exuding tints of melancholy by banishing the debilitating paralysis of this faux-nutritious emotion. Gyring between Far Eastern melodies, viscoelastic decortications of haze and softly clandestine syringa veils, Hotel Neon is a multifaceted album that still manages to adhere to a cornerstone that doesn’t seem to fit at first: cohesion. The listener encounters many mellifluous patterns and soothing drones, though whatever one witnesses is channeled through coherent valves. Here, then, is a meticulous inspection of its seven constituents.


The gateway to Hotel Neon’s self-titled melancholic mélange is the gorgeously benthic A Lament: it comprises of anything but a caproic three-note glissando synth – or heavily processed guitar riff – surrounded by lactic-ligneous splotches and knocks. However, this is not just an arbitrary melody comprising of three notes. This is the delineation of a cajolingly rising pentatonicism whose viridian aorta meanders mellowly through the peaceful locale. Everything feels fuzzy and blurry, but the melody is tangible against all odds, as there are no distracting static noises. All elements are injected in the first two minutes already. The complete runtime of seven and a half minutes is then used to cautiously aggrandize and maintain the polyfoil spirit. Afterwards, Dust And Drag shares the phylogenetic pericarp with its forerunner. Perennial potassium drones float above a distant wind gust aurora and amidst the heavily softened clangs of metallic blebs. Additional synth sinews protrude the carefully modified melody and tower above the pluvial plasticizer, working as lavabos, lighthouse beams or guiding lights. This is not a melancholic piece per se; it rather rests in itself, in its autochthonous hoarfrost.


The Crushing Weight is the centerpiece of the album. Running for over ten minutes, its title suggests an internecine obstacle. The endogenic reality differs strikingly. In lieu of recondite rhizomes, Andrew and Michael Tasselmyer yield hydrazine rivulets whose elasticized quilting evokes ethereal excitement. Fir-green synth flumes float in close proximity to the fibrillar emanations, allowing the simultaneity of sumptuous presence and retrojected afterglows. One thing is for sure: nothing is crushed in this weightless superfluid. Meanwhile, The Eye’s Mind serves as the aural vitrectomy of glacial chromakeys, offering a carefully adjusted iteration of Hotel Neon’s cannelure. Sub-zero but nonetheless melting icicle susurrations are accompanied by bone-crushing low frequency convulsions. Fragility and oomph are united and usually sit on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Here, they are tied together by angelic aureoles and reverberated phases of sustain. This makes for a cavernous experience, awash with light, diffracted by many an oneiric-organic ctenidium.


Deprivation is another piece that breathes efflorescence and forfeiture, but the attached soundscape is anything but an epitome of a richly alluvial thermal transcendence. The droning synth washes are sizzling and simmering, sporting a micro-granular physiognomy that lets them float through the argentine location. Whitewashed pink noise undercurrents multiplex benignancy and friendliness. Almost rectilinear and streamlined, the structures of warmth become anhydrides and let the viscid cloudlets turn into an aerose riverbed. The adjacent Confines serves as the antagonistic force temperature-wise as Hotel Neon return to the somnolent but definitely beguiling tendrils of cauterized crystals. The main placenta is again slightly granular and rustic, providing a rufescent vestibule to frostier counterparts. What sounds heterodox on your reading device is flawlessly transferred into music without contretemps, let alone mephitic belligerence. Floating in the emerald abyss, embedded within heavy current chaparrals, the listening subject reaches the endpoint in the form of Lowly which closes the seven-track circle in the most apposite – instead of opposite – way: returning to the opener A Lament's pentatonic three-note hook that takes the role of the water-borne adhesive, it is the seraphic drones and the distance which make this tramontane plateau so peaceful. One experiences this synthetic tryst from afar, ready to letting go the sylphlike nullspace of incandescence.


Hotel Neon’s self-titled debut shimmers anew in remastered form, but hasn’t lost anything of its acroamatic intensity. Reciprocating between stupefyingly transfiguring synth/guitar intermixtures and looming evocations of negativity, its superstructure comprises, curiously enough, of unfailingly rapturous juxtapositions. This is possible due to the presentiments and apprehensions turning up in the titles only, the atoms and letters which are torn away from the mesmeric arrangements. This discrepancy or disaccord happens within the intermediary interplay between text and music, and then exclusively in the intrinsic hallways of Hotel Neon. The reality – as perceived by the listening guest – is unapologetically auroral. Even when tones in minor amplify nostalgia and contemplation, these forces are never petrifying thanks to the languorous textures and surfaces which grace this record. While Michael and Andrew Tasselmyer’s debut allows and widens several moments of meditation and reflection, its initial point or even utmost essence is delight. Its lucency is often rose-tinted, cross-fading into stretched particles of apotheosis, but this bona fide approach is exactly why the inept undulations of negativity are so far away, annealed, ostracized, annihilated. There is not one single incongruous device in this hotel, neither a crepuscular coil, nor an austere trace of antimatter. Hotel Neon is aglow with brightness alright, but literally ablaze with positive thinking.


Further listening and reading: 


Ambient Review 407: Hotel Neon – Hotel Neon (2013/2015). Originally published on Jan. 21, 2015 at