No Name Hotel – Tristan
No Name Hotel – Tristan
The intriguing second EP Tristan from Los Angeles based No Name Hotel, the nom de plume for Florida born Afghani musician, producer, and songwriter Farahd Abdullah Wallizada, is likely to elevate this talented artist out of relatively obscurity and expose him to a wider audience than he’s encountered before. The four songs on Tristan are inspired and particularly close to No Name Hotel’s experience, but his talents are such that the interiority of these songs never poses a problem for potential listeners.
Much of this can be ascribed to the plaintive tenor of Wallizada’s vocal and his lyrical talents. His voice doesn’t possess any of the traditional singing range we associate with top shelf vocalists, but that isn’t the point – instead, the real point here is how he inhabits the sonic landscapes we hear in each of these four songs and his theatrical inclinations immeasurably enhances every song.
His voice is the unquestionable center of the release. Few songs make this clearer than the opener “Blood on Sky” and it’s probably the EP’s closest moment to traditional song craft, though you will not find No Name Hotel relying on stock turns, instrumental passages, and predictability to convey his heart. The personal nature of the material comes through in both his lyrical content and obvious emotion dominating his delivery No Name Hotel is an effective writer in each of the EP’s four tracks and often conveys his intent with deft lines stripped of any excess. Those near literary impulses are more subservient to the arrangement on the second and third songs “Parable” and “Yellow Street Lights”. We get some sense, particularly in the former track, of how unique No Name Hotel’s sensibilities are to western music, yet how thoroughly assimilated his relatively brief exposure to those artistic tropes has left him in his early twenties. Much to his credit, he never embraces the expected, but instead surprises listeners and follows his own inner voice and muse wherever it chooses to lead him. “Yellow Street Lights”, especially, dispenses with such a lyric heavy approach in favor of ambient atmospherics, but there’s never any sense of him being overwrought or self-indulgent with their use.
The finale “Outrenoir”, based on title alone, suggests that there’s a strong visual element to what No Name Hotel is attempting without ever belaboring or expanding on that idea. His clear interest in aforementioned ambient textures and dynamics reflects this theory, but “Outrenior” also finds him returning to the more overtly accessible territory explored in the EP opener. Tristan, running sixteen minutes in total, isn’t a youthful magnum opus of some sort, but rather sounds like an artist increasingly finding his footing as a performer, singer, and composer. It is no stretch to expect future releases will expand his range and ambition in such a way that Tristan will soon sound like a critical first step towards realizing his musical aspirations on even grander stages than here.