Tristan, the second EP release from No Name Hotel, is a four song collection that finds Farahd Abdullah Wallizada, working under the No Name Hotel banner, gaining real footing as a solo artist. The singer/songwriter and instrumentalist have a musical imagination brimming over with youthful energy and ample imagination that makes four songs sound like a full length effort. No Name Hotel, naturally, has his influences, but the four songs on this collection carve out their own unique niche for him quite unlike anyone else in the indie or popular music world today. He’s in his early twenties now, but there’s a depth of creativity and intelligence powering these four songs far beyond the purview of typical indie efforts. The music is sporadically accessible for listeners and there’s no question that the personality and intimacy of these compositions are pulled from Wallizada’s heart. The passion is apparent in each song.
The range of instruments employed to make Tristan a success is relatively narrow. Much of the EP’s four songs focus on synthesizers as the primary vehicle for conveying musical ideas and No Name Hotel is definitely committed to constructing these tracks much like a painter might approach their canvas rather than with an assortment of the customary changes defining more traditional efforts. If you assume, based on the preceding statement, that engaging with these songs will prove a challenge, it depends on your point of view. No Name Hotel does not pander. “Blood on Sky” and the EP’s final song “Outrenoir” are, easily, the closest compositions to convention heard on Tristan, but that’s only because No Name Hotel opts for a largely direct approach to recording his own voice rather than twisting it with the same penchant for experimentation defining the EP’s two middle tracks. “Blood on Sky” is an ideal opener for Tristan because it helps us acclimate to the unusual approach defining his writing and recording. The lyrics through Tristan are clearly culled from No Name Hotel’s personal experiences, but they are certainly cast in a darker hue than might suit some listeners.
“Parable” is, arguably, the zenith of No Name Hotel’s experimentation on this EP. There’s very little of the clean vocals we hear in both the opener and closer. Instead, the arrangement and vocals alike take on a more dissonant tone that, while not readily accessible for casual listeners, doesn’t push. “Yellow Street Lights” is more instrumental than the other three tracks. No Name Hotel doesn’t neglect to add some lyrical content, but atmospherics feel far more important here and it makes for an interesting change of pace. Few releases in 2018, or any other year for that matter, boast the idiosyncratic slant we hear with No Name Hotel’s Tristan. It’s a release capable of engaging listeners emotionally and intellectually without ever falling into self indulgence and any serious music lover should be very interested in any future releases from this talented young musician.