Boomkat Product Review:
Tucked in the heart of Koreatown, Los Angeles, lies The Libra Hotel—the titular architecture of Nick Malkin's album and site of his musical and psychogeographic exploration.
"Unlike most musical "site-specific" studies, Malkin remains wholly ambivalent to the documentarian approach, instead sharpening an auteur-like focus on the site as a conceptual and highly expressive backdrop. The Libra is musically explored as a space that houses a noir fragmentation of identity—the exhausted trope of a complicated protagonist walking through rain-soaked street corners and fumy neon lights—where an inner monologue is rendered in both miniature and at a cosmic scale.
Casting aside stifling tropes around field recording, ambient, and improvised music, Malkin's work finds its own unique fidelity and emotional core through the assembly and reassembly of memory. Nearly every sound on the album—from frayed saxophones, lambent pianos, and dissected jazz drum kits—are multiplied, shattered, and reconstituted into shapes that adorn The Libra in a motion-blurred fog. The narrative of the Hotel suddenly appears as if out of the mist, with intersecting characters interacting within its walls by happenstance. Adminst the languid set pieces, wraith-like sonic grains gravitate around wide subbass beams that give structural form to The Libra, a narrative tension like when a scene is shot from hundreds of different perspectives: an image both luminous and veiled."