For my money, there aren’t nearly enough records depicting Western soundscapes spliced into the bleeding-heart cache of East Coast Americana. In fact, Hank Midnight’s Motel may be one of the few albums that represents this need of Jayhawks-style harmonies, Eno-esque sonic persuasion and a tincture of Brooklyn-bred jazz. Hotel is a fascinating love letter to several persuasions and genres that Midnight has become a colloquial travel man within.
Midnight creates a contained space in real-time with Hotel, devising a day’s worth of actions and affinities in the setting of a low-rent hotel with equally despondent characters. The obvious and ever-prevailing theme of the record seems to be the surface-level laws of attraction between emotionally nomadic people. Though upon further review, Hotel’s theme is written right into the diversity of genre within the tracks.
Midnight’s record is about the relationship to music in a claustrophobic space and how one provides their own definition through the medium. It’s about a fluidity of nature, personality, and perhaps sexuality, and how the tendency to provide catharsis in a space as small as a hotel or an oppressive scene within an otherwise bustling town.
There are some terrific interludes woven into Hotel, even when they clock in at under a minute or so. The shorter pieces seem even more powerful when juxtaposed next to some sweeping avant-garde jazz-fusion, with a innocuous Hank picking away some modern guilt on the guitar. Hotel is one of the most understated surveys of the interpersonal fascination with music in a digital age that relies on traditional formats to supply their personality archetypes.