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Tuxedomoon: Bardo Hotel Soundtrack

Bardo Hotel is a painstakingly pieced together series of movements (“spontaneously conceived,” say the credits, though I strongly suspect some composed elements) that bring to mind such disparate music as Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way, Steve Reich’s theatrical work “The Cave” and John Cage’s “Variations.” In any case, a cataloging of influences could only scratch the surface of this hard-to-describe, ambitious music, conceived as the soundtrack to a film planned by Tuxedomoon in collaboration with the visual artist George Kanakis, “loosely connected” to the Brion Gysin novel of the same name.

It’s a densely layered work: Ethereal trumpets and woodwinds float over rockish bass ostinatos and processed electronics, while found conversations, taped airport announcements and the sounds of voice-mail operators weave in and out. The musicians’ individual personalities are subsumed by the collective. This is an egoless work.

As loathe as I am to quote promo material, the press release accompanying this album calls the music itself “a true ‘Road Movie of the Mind,'” which pretty much nails it. I look forward to seeing the film. On the other hand, the music itself is so evocative that I doubt the visuals could improve on the experience.

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