Andrew Tasselmyer of Hotel Neon has steadily been honing his craft in the use of samplers, field recordings, and lo-fi recording techniques and finding ways to evolve & expand his sound while putting out consistently fine solo releases that are always worth a thoughtful listen. Limits marks the Philadelphia-based artist’s debut on the Laaps imprint, a label devised by the same creative force behind Eilean Rec. and IIKKI, which follows an ‘exquisite corpse’ concept where the the last track of one release grafts on to opening track of the next, effectively making the entire catalog one enormous loop.
In this case, Tasselmyer inherits the grainy fade-out of “Huoneen Yllä” from Loput by Finnish sound artist Olli Aarni which he lets slowly dissipate into the title track of Limits like a lifting fog until green shoots of melody in the form of strings and piano begin to tentatively emerge. It is a deft transition into what turns out to be one of his most organic and aesthetically pleasing albums yet, perhaps somewhat akin to Hotel Neon’s excellent 2018 release Means of Knowing (Archives) in the way it manages to create a sense of meditative isolation with a distinctly En plein air vibe that feels both natural and solidly grounded throughout. In harmony with the cool white and pastel blue tones of the minimalist artwork, the music the album comprises is clean, elegant, and subtly immersive while patiently revealing a sympathetic human connection woven into its melodic themes. The result is a beautifully balanced ambient record that resonates more with each listen.
Links: Bandcamp (CD/LP) | Andrew Tasselmyer
Limits was released in February of 2022 on limited CD and clear vinyl editions each hand-numbered. The physical editions are sold out at the time this review is published, but digital downloads and streaming remain available options. The album was mastered by Ian Hawgood and features artwork by Jonathan Smith. Picking up next in the series is Belgian sound artist ‘ t Geruis with Bain D’Étoiles which the label will release later this month.