Hotel Neon advances the liberation of the mind. This trio of dual guitars and one synth comes together to work out the proportions of large harmonic thinking. The title of their album Context (65'51") provides the poetic backdrop for the introspective, reflective, and somewhat dark-hued tone and character of their work. Its nine brief tracks of slower than slow adagio-like character are the result of a group, part colorist and part constructionist, practicing exacting methods. Every note on Context appears always in the neighborhood of two other notes, in a harmonic function that elicits an arresting notice from anyone within earshot. This taming of the electric guitar is a quieter action, one where the long bowed bolt of sound originates in six vibrating steel strings. The use of various processing and effect devices shapes their raw guitar emanations into a delicate atmosphere. The elegant use of distortion, and other such aberrations normally ground out of a mix, lend a hand-made quality to Context. Metallic organ drones support floating textures of lithe rounded gray chords, as plaintive sliding tones loop and repeat in an echoing somber message. Never arriving anywhere, this Ambient Music restlessly searches for unnamed conclusions. The lighter airier works on Context answer the demand for a music that presents peaceful passages - enriched by pleasures in consonance and tone. In this sustaining dusky sweetness the mind of the listener may rest in repose, or engage in deciphering life's mysteries. Yet, it is the imagining of threatening forces which gives this work its symphonic current. The very essential part of these realizations is their effect on the audience. There is an intimacy and a rawness to these performances that is riveting. While music which is difficult to comprehend is no longer automatically considered profound or advanced, Hotel Neon still takes the way of the thinker - knowing that some people will listen many levels down, for many minutes long.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 14 September 2017