Hotel Neon

isolatedmix 90 - Hotel Neon

 
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After the last brilliant, eclectic and proggy isolatedmix by Steve Moore, we’ve secretly been longing for a deeper more serene story to bring our senses full circle. With releases on introspective labels such as Archives, and Fluid Audio the next mix, comes from Michael Tasselmyer, Andrew Tasselmyer, and Steven Kemner, known to many of us as Hotel Neon.

The Philadelphia based trio’s sound has previously been expertly described as, “at once epic and incredibly intimate”; “as icy as it is graceful"; and “enveloping atmosphere and sonic density”, but I would try and simplify (or complicate) it as sitting at the crossroads of a spectrum of ambient styles we admire. Coincidentally, given the number of band members, a Venn Diagram of Hotel Neon would likely see them exist within the sweet spot of classical/soundtrack, drone and more tactfully styled field recordings. Their combination of the three create deep churning and bellowing auras to get truly lost within.

The desired effect is as much lean-in, as it is to observe or wander amongst, with intricacies that only become apparent in certain situations, or instruments that take several listens to identify. They’ve become an apt soundtrack for deep sleep, and have an observable tangible approach well-deserved of live performances within more epic spaces such cathedrals. But as their name may suggest, and as the theme of the mix is revealed, Hotel Neon’s music comes into its own when you’re caught wandering at night - in what we like to imagine - is your own, strangely isolated place…

Will Long’s (Celer) recent new album really blew us away, and we got to thinking about the imagery that a track title like “Rains lit by neon” can stir up: late-night ruminations in a quiet hotel room, high above streets full of strangers lit by neon. Obviously, we can connect to the “neon” aspect...but in all seriousness, there’s something undeniably compelling about the effect of a lonely nocturnal setting on one’s state of mind, and the depth of introspection it can generate. These are tracks with wistful, mysterious, and provocative character to facilitate one’s nighttime reminiscing. - Andrew (Hotel Neon)

Hotel Neon are currently busy preparing for an EU/UK tour alongside masters of the art, Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott this September (see here) and preparing a charity compilation album in collaboration with Robert Macfarlane called "Place Language." The compilation features 29 artists from around the world including Hammock, Taylor Deupree, Lawrence English and many more. Set to be released through Fluid Audio in September, the compilation will be available in a custom letter-pressed booklet, and all profits will benefit the War Child charity to provide aid to children displaced by war and conflict.

Download

Tracklist:

01. ana roxanne - “Nocturne” (~~~) Buy on Bandcamp 
02. Benoît Pioulard & Sean Curtis Patrick - “Zenava” (Avocationals) Buy on Bandcamp
03. Lusine - “Jetstream” (Language Barrier) Buy on Bandcamp
04. Earthen Sea - “Existing Closer Or Deeper In Space” (Grass And Trees) Buy on Bandcamp
05. Kate Carr - “Contact” (Contact) Buy on Bandcamp
06. Celer - “(06.23.17) from the doorway of the beef noodle shop, shoes on the street in the rain, outside the karate school” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
07. Celer - “Rains lit by neon” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
08. anthéne - “Cyprus” (Lost Channel) Buy on Bandcamp
09. Brian McBride - “At A Loss” (Air Texture Volume II) Buy on Bandcamp
10. Sofie Birch - “Begin Sync End” (Planetes) Buy on Bandcamp
11. Jana Winderen - “Drift” (Surface Runoff) Buy on Bandcamp
12. Mount Shrine - “Forbidden Air, Pt. 2” (Homeless Rooms) Buy on Bandcamp
13. Rafael Anton Irisarri - “Falling Curtain” (Midnight Colors) Buy on Bandcamp

Artwork photo by Andrew Tasselmyer, “taken in Shanghai, China in early 2016 while wandering alone at night by the Huangpu River downtown, bleary-eyed and nostalgic”.

~

Hotel Neon | Website | Bandcamp | Discogs | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook 

 

ASIP - Reflection on 2018

 
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This year marked some significant milestones in my life personally and with ASIP. It was our ten-year anniversary and with it came our Full Circle vinyl project. I didn’t think I would get around to doing this year-end mix given everything going on, but it’s always funny how and when inspiration strikes to pull something together. Sleepless, stressful nights, this mix provided me with just the right amount of reflection, and distraction for my insomnia.

As with all of my ‘Reflection’ year-end mixes, I start with a long list of tracks and albums I have enjoyed over the year. By the process of putting together a mix that I feel flows well as per any other mix I put together, the songs are whittled down and selected. This means many of my faves are often omitted in the process. But as I say every year, this isn’t a definitive ‘best-of’ list, but an organic selection of some of my favorite music from 2018 in an enjoyable format, as a piece in itself.

I subsequently put together a second 1.5 hours following this mix, but when I got into that territory, I started to wonder where I would actually stop... I found new releases I loved just this week, and wanted to revisit it all again. But, I was hard on myself to keep it to just this one mix - a 2hr journey through some of 2018’s finest. The mix spans many styles I love, touching on modern-classical, experimental, ambient, drone and electronica but the biggest omission (that is often included in previous years mixes) is much of the techno and dub-techno I’ve listened to. The mix didn’t go that way naturally, and then I ran out of time after giving myself a 2-hr limit.

Here’s the quick rundown:

Rhian Sheehan opens the mix as he does Full Circle, returning after several years away with a stunning new compositional album. Johnny Greenwood pricked my ears whilst watching You Were Never Really Here. Steve Good made it into the year-end mix once again with another solid ambient album. Poemme provided the light and tranquil vibes whilst Warmth added the density with another superb full-length. Mount Shrine lulled me to sleep on many occasions and Hotel Neon offered some of their best work to date. Abul Mogard never disappoints and r beny should be held to a similar superlative given his great work this year. Acronym & Korridor brought their rare tape to the digital realm. Laura Luna Castillo was a lovely new find for me with a varied experimental album. Indulging in the Field Works boxset this year, I struggled to only offer one track out of the bunch. Grand River finally put out her album opus after several strong EPs. Richard Devine blew our minds with a crazy piece of IDM - as expected. Diamondstein tag-teamed with Sangam for a future-facing journey and 36’s Patreon subscription continued to provide some of his best work yet. Vril hit us with one of the years bets ambient techno albums on Delsin. One of this years biggest surprises probably goes to Skee Mask dropping his genre-traversing rave inspired album. Wanderwelle created one of the years most unique sounding storied albums. Helios, came back to the ambient fray with his debut on Ghostly and a more nostalgic melancholic album. DJ Healer was likely one of my most-listened to albums of the year for the lo-fi reflective nature of his sound and a definitive soundtrack to my trip to Tokyo. Ocoeur continued to innovate his varied production approach for n5MD and Rival Consoles perfected his upfront electronic sound on Erased Tapes. A dream duo in Synkro and Arovane lived up to the hype of both, and The Black Dog’s two albums reminded us all of their mastery and depth. Inner River lead Atomnation’s 2018 output and Jon Hopkins will be topping many lists no doubt. Lastly, Mysteries of The Deep launched their label with an amazing roster, and presented us with Lori Scacco, who rounds out the mix on an uplifting note.

To see all the music I’ve enjoyed this year and many great pieces I didn’t manage to fit into this mix, just head over to the ASIP Bandcamp collection page and some of the accompanying notes I write on each purchase.

Thanks to everyone here for the music, and a big shout to anyone not included who’s music I have loved and supported this year. I’m still catching up on many and wish I could’ve included so many more.

Download

Tracklist (View all Bandcamp links in one link here, via "BuyMusic.club")

01. Rhian Sheehan - All Who Remain [Self]
02. Johnny Greenwood - Tree Stings [Lakeshore Records]
03. Steve Good - 360 [Self]
04. Poemme - At the Gates Of Dawn [Stereoscenic Records]
05. Warmth - Receiver [Archives]
06. Mount Shrine - Winter Restlessness [Cryo Chamber]
07. Hotel Neon - Roke [Archives]
08. Abul Mogard - Where Not Even [Ecstatic]
09. r beny - in the violet and lingering winter dusk [Self]
10. Acronym & Korridor - Sscending [Vaagner]
11. Laura Luna Castillo - Moskstraumen [Genot]
12. Field Works (Loscil) - Imprints [Temporary Residence]
13. Grand River - Ecouri [Spazio Disponible]
14. Richard Devine - Astra [Planet Mu]
15. Diamondstein & Sangam - Finding Peace Where There Isn't [Doom Trip]
16. 36 - Midnight Helix [Self]
17. Vril - Riese (Rework) [Delsin]
18. Skee Mask - Session Add [Ilian Tape]
19. Wanderwelle - The Seed of the Areoi [Silent Season]
20. Helios - Eventually [Ghostly]
21. DJ Healer - 2 The Dark [All Possible Worlds]
22. Ocoeur - Passage [n5MD]
23. Rival Consoles - Unfolding [Erased Tapes]
24. Roel Funcken - Sapper Morton [Analogical Force]
25. Synkro & Arovane - Aspen [Apollo]
26. The Black Dog - The Truth Is In The Post [Dust]
27. Inner River - Floe Flow [Atomnation]
28. Jon Hopkins - C O S M [Domino]
29. Lori Scacco - Strange Cities [Mysteries Of The Deep]

Stream select tracks on Spotify or Apple Music (Not all tracks are included)
Artwork photo by
Naphtali Marshall.

 

ASIP - Subtempo Guest Mix 012

 
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Last year we featured one of the first releases from the Subtempo crew; this lovely Alejandro Bento album and its accompanying remixes. Fast-forward a year and Subtempo have some ambitious plans with both the label and their new website/blog, and they’ve invited me to help kick-off the newly refreshed design by contributing to their ongoing guest mix series. There’s also a little Q&A with yours truly should you be interested!

For full background on the mix and to read the interview, head over to Subtempo here.

Big thanks to Rocco and Subtempo for the support, invite and the great feature.

Tracklist

01. Tongues of Light - Healing Side [Pre-Cert]
02. DJ Healer - At Last (Becoming The Storm) [All Possible Worlds]
03. DJ Richard - Dissolving World [Dial]
04. Lori Scacco - Other Flowers [Mysteries Of The Deep]
05. Sonae - Soul Eater [Monika Enterprise]
06. Sophia Loizou - Order Of Elements [Kathexis]
07. Strië - Capsule [Serein]
08. Christoph De Babalon - High Life (Theme) [DHR]
09. Abul Mogard - Quiet Dreams [Ecstatic]
10. Hands - Beelitz Heilstatten Pt6 [Ecstatic]
11. Suzanne Ciani - Quadrophonic Part One [Atmospheric]
12. M Geddes Gangras - Kalapana [Umor Rex]
13. DJ Healer - Hopes And Fears [All Possible Worlds]
14. 747 - Cretaceous (edit) [Aquaregia]
15. Hotel Neon - Roke [Archives]
16. 36 - Soul Boundary [A Strangely Isolated Place - forthcoming]

 

isolatedmix 63 - Warmth

 

With previous releases on Etoka, Rohs! Records and MOSHItaka, Spain's Warmth has been a staple contributor to some of the many labels that keep the ambient genre a deep wealth of quality music. It's easy to push such labels aside unless you dive in and spend time absorbing the output- these labels provide a consistent source of exploration for ASIP and undoubtedly inspire many more.

After several releases, gaining love and attention from a wider ambient following, Warmth decided to release his best work to date on his own label, Archives - now another growing, well-respected home to ambient and dub-techno. The album, titled Essay, was the coming-of-age for Warmth, demonstrating his peaceful, atmospheric and lush approach to ambient music, and is already being heralded as one of the best ambient albums of the year. 

With such a defined style and admired respect for the ambient sound, Warmth's isolatedmix provides another platform for expression, taking us through some of his most admired pieces, showcasing some of the inspiration that shaped his productions, and an additional taste of his own work.

An introduction to the mix, in his own words:

"It all starts with a track called 'The Place', which I made especially for the mix. I started the project one afternoon; usually when I get some time to produce, but I woke up in the middle of the night. I could not sleep with the heat and I started working on the mix of the track. The last time I did that was years ago, but the truth is that it was quite inspiring to work on the project with the dawn light in the background, maybe that's why it ended up sounding a bit dramatic.

There is also a remix I did for a self-released track of Purl, titled 'Sagan', which should be released some time in the future. He is one of my favorite producers and I really wanted to get my hands on his music. At first I did something closer to the original track but I felt like that was not working and I ended up starting from scratch, using some of the ambient parts and adding some pads on my own to make an ambient version. 

You can also hear a track from the upcoming album by Purl on Archives 'Form Is Emptiness'. It is called 'Vissna' and is one of my favorites on the album, the track has a haunting and tense beauty. There are also some tracks from producers close to me that I really admire, as Logic Moon, Shuta Yasukochi, Tobias Hellkvist, Murkok or Robert Farrugia and pieces from artists who inspire me a lot, as Siavash Amini, Arovane & Hior Chronik and Hotel Neon".

Download.

Tracklist:

01. Warmth - The Place [Unreleased]
02. Purl - Sagan (Warmth Remix) [Unreleased]
03. Shuta Yasukochi - Tape Machine [Archives]
04. Murkok - Veda [Bandcamp]
05. Purl - Vissna [Upcoming]
06. Tobias Hellkvist - Vesterhavet 1 [Bandcamp]
07. Logic Moon - The Shape Of Room [Archives]
08. Hotel Neon - Remnants [Bandcamp]
09. Siavash Amini - Dusk [Futuresequence]
10. Arovane & Hior Chronik - Relief  [ASIP]
11. Robert Farrugia - Timbre [Archives]