ADELINE HOTEL – ” Good Timing “

Posted: February 19, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Where does a piece of music originate? Before decisions about form and refinement of material, before building up or carving down, before composition itself—what lies in this white room, and how does one find it? Dan Knishkowy of Adeline Hotel did not set out to answer these questions when he began recording “Good Timing”, a mostly instrumental album whose crystalline latticework of acoustic guitar marks a departure of sorts from his previous releases as a songwriter. But as he worked, he found a certain freedom in a process uninhibited by pretense. “I liked the idea of embracing that,” he says, “instead of turning this into something more conventionally polished.”

The fifth album from Dan Knishkowy’s psych-folk project Adeline Hotel is aptly named: Arriving at the end of an rougher-than-average week for our collective psyche, Good Timing feels designed to envelop and ease any troubled mind. Knishkowy interweaves crystalline acoustic guitar improvisations, creating a kaleidoscope of bright, glassy finger-picking that expands and recedes unceasingly, as if shaping itself of its own volition. Reverb functions like a distinct instrument on the album, elongating Knishkowy’s guitar work and complicating the interplay between its layers. At just 23 minutes, Good Timing’s glow is fleeting, but when it passes, it will take your troubles—or at least their sharp edges—with it. 

Knishkowy created Good Timing by layering improvised guitar parts, each one reacting intuitively to those that came before and guiding those that came after. Like a fractal blooming or a snowflake accumulating ice, the music dictated its own shape as it grew, a dynamic that is perceptible in the shifting surfaces of each piece. Rhythms unspool slowly, without tether to any strict pulse. Lines begin in apparent disarray, then converge for an epiphanic moment, then separate again. Though Knishkowy is well versed in the greats of solo guitar—among several possible connotations of the album’s title is a sly homage to a Jim O’Rourke acoustic masterwork—the effect of these multitracked pieces may have more in common with ambient music than anything from the American Primitive school. Low strings toll like distant bells; high ones sparkle like windchimes just outside the window. The physical properties of Dan’s instrument are as present in the music as his own hands.

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He arrived at this instinctual approach while working alone at home in the quarantine summer of 2020, when more precisely arranged compositions began to feel stifling. As a reprieve, he began recording the sort of ostensibly aimless music that had often uncovered the seeds of songs in the past. By centering these embryonic sounds as an expression in themselves, rather than a route to some other end, he crafted 10 pieces that glow with intimacy and presence, vessels for capturing memory in real time. “I feel like all records are approximations of your creative process, in a way” he says, “but with Good Timing, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to the source.” – Andy Cush

Released February 19th, 2021

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