The slow, cool drones of Vanishing Forms (April 15, Archives) like to linger. Gaseous harmonies unspool and develop with subtlety, morphing all the time, projecting nothing but peace. The Philadelphia trio make suspended music. Their drones and sunshine-textures drift in the air, hovering like slow-moving clouds. Remarkably, Hotel Neon never seem to repeat themselves. Every album is different and offers something new. Everything is sublime – always sublime – but every track illuminates a beauty seemingly without end.
With the fluidity of a motion picture, Hotel Neon’s harmonies are cast in a cloudy light, gusting into the world with a series of swelling, striking soundscapes, pouring forth like a waterfall, without any obstructions or blockages to its flow. The music crosses over into cinematic terrain, feeling at once epic and incredibly intimate, unfolding like the blossoming of a developing photograph in the dark room or passing by like a time-lapse taken from the tip of a skyscraper.
These drones are incorporeal beings, billowing in gusts of thick reverb and morphing in the surrounding atmosphere, bringing higher levels of peace, an end to worry, and putting to the sword anxious thoughts. Vanishing Forms has a meditative clarity which reaches beyond and breaks through the density of its low-hanging cloud. For the most part, the sounds remain obscured, but the weather pattern is highly changeable. Barely-concealed harmonies are able to suddenly shine like the breaking sun before fading away into obscurity.
Like glimpses of the afterlife, or of another world seeping into our own, the ambient swells come and go, offering only mysterious glimpses while delivering something life-changing in what is a powerful encounter. With track titles such as ‘Sunfire’ and ‘Burning Mist’, Hotel Neon’s ambient exists in a state of active transition and atmospheric change, dropping with sudden and dramatic force and uplifting itself once again, here one moment and gone the next. Rhythm without percussion, a dance without a drum. They surround completely, offering a sanctuary.
Lights pulsate and the drones respond. Some grow murky and blurry, their heavy hue a dark colouring of crushed berry. With peaceful, surrendered faces and eyes wide shut, deep in a state of submersion and immersion, the drones emerge from the clouds and then disappear an instant later. The textures have meat on their bones, becoming massive, intangible structures, but having a vulnerability at their core. Higher harmonies bleed into lower, bass-heavy throbs, providing a wide spectrum of contrasts which all bleed into each other, resulting in an LP of ascended calm and a banishment of stress. This is the ultimate in stress relief. Vanishing Forms will leave your jaw on the floor.