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World Music CD Reviews North American


By John Kuhlman
Published March 20, 2007

Bardo Hotel Soundtrack

Tuxedomoon’s latest project is a collection of “spontaneous compositions” assembled as a soundtrack for an ongoing film project based on Brion Gysin’s final writings. For the most part, these are awkwardly solemn, atmospheric improvisations for violin, bass, trumpet and clarinet, all drenched in noir-ish reverb. When the album takes shape, it is, unexpectedly, from tape fragments that percolate up through the course of the disc, field recordings gathered by the band on the road (airport chatter, stewardess instructions, answering machine messages), but whose very banality, in the context of Gysin's subject matter, makes them sound like an aural simulation of the obstacles and tedium implicit in 21st Century postmodern life. The narrative climaxes with the appearance of "Mr. Comfort" on the track of the same name, the manager of the hotel in the album's title, whose endless enumeration of the rules and regulations of the place, with the band simmering and buzzing beneath him, creates some of the most chilling stuff on the disc.