After more than a few successful releases on Home Normal and Fluid Audio, the trio of Andrew Tasselmyer, Michael Tasselmyer, and Steven Kemner, that makes up the project of Hotel Neon, selects the Spanish Archives imprint (a label run by Agustín Mena aka Warmth) for their next immersive album, titled Means Of Knowing. The credits of this release also include the mastering touch of Rafael Anton Irisarri. This fully absorbing and captivating ambient narrative invites the listener to give up all of their setbacks for a moment, reflect on the present state of well-being, and attempt to extend that short period of time from a second to a minute, from a minute to an hour, from an hour to a day.

Spanning across a limited edition of 2xCD release, and an even more enticing double record pressed on a clear (or black) vinyl, Means of Knowing is a perfect soundtrack for a lonely soul that is taking a break from the busy construct of an imaginary life, and diving into an introspective journey. There is almost a medicinal approach to weaving these textures – like a cunning sonic architecture of a C-major chord exuded by the slot machines of a casino, these long stretches of the droney delicate guitars, doused in plenty of reverb and spacial field recordings, carry the listener through their tonal ambiance with a feeling of elation, euphoria and joy. The album sets up an inviting atmosphere where one feels comfortable and at ease, where one feels safe for deeper digging, where one can linger all day long.

“Like a long walk on a favourite path and the observation that such a journey inspires, it is an album full of a constantly evolving interplay between natural and imagined sound sources. Tactile sounds from the physical world combine with textured, processed synthesis to evoke the depth of experience available to us every day.”

Although I can imagine myself listening to the Means Of Knowing while the sounds of the waves crash against the rocky beach, the twelve extended pieces go well with a walking meditation through a natural reserve. There is a very close connection of these slow progressions to the natural, organic and elemental world. Listen with a pair of open headphones and let the sounds of your pathway mix together with the flow. Allow these to come in and leave without judgement, without a personal response. The crack of a dry branch, the rustling of the leaves, the calls of birds and animals. Somewhere on your trail, you may discover what you’re seeking. And although you may not like what is revealed, as your distorted mirror is turned out inwards, at least you’ll know that through this process you’re facing finally your truth. |