No Name Hotel dropped a new EP on May 4. called Tristan, it encompasses four tracks of distinctive music. No Name Hotel is the anonym of Farahd Abdullah Wallizada, a first-generation American born of Afghani parents. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Wallizada grew up isolated from pop culture. In his teens, he discovered contemporary music and hasn’t looked back since then.
Initially, Wallizada used computers and music software to create his own original music. Later, he became infatuated with grunge and alternative rock.
At this point, according to Wallizada, “I became something of a Luddite. I set aside my midi keyboard, bought a guitar, started a band, and spent the next few years practicing and playing shows in dive bars across North Florida.”
Eventually, his band broke up, and Wallizada isolated himself musically. Then his parents divorced. So he packed up and moved to the left coast, SoCal, L.A. The thinking was that the move would open up new musical horizons. But it didn’t. In fact, he became more and more isolated. Still, he released an EP, called True Moon.
“It basically fell on deaf ears,” he says of the EP. “It had a sound that was scattered, unsure, and rough around the edges. But ultimately, it was a crucial stepping stone to my evolution as an artist.”
In 2017, Wallizada turned a corner and started working on the musical foundations of Tristan. Working at night, recording in his studio apartment, he discovered his muse. He took evening bike rides, visualizing and reflecting on the past, his life in Florida, serene moments, the taste and feel of the air, etc.
The result? Tristan.
“Tristan,” he says, “is really an EP of reflections. Putting myself in the shoes of someone I used to be, in order to discover who I am now.”
“Blood on Sky” is the first track, and it opens with eerie, industrial synths rife with dark colors, along with a pulsing beat, like a human heart. Filtered background voices ride in the backdrop. When the melody kicks in, it emanates an alt-rock essence infused with a hip-hop sensibility and filaments of exotic colors.
“Parable” features distorted, filtered sonic flavors of compact eccentricity. There’s a mad scientist-feel to the music, especially when it transitions to lullaby tones. Almost devoid of traditional elements of rhythm, the melody is the focus. And the focus oozes opaque energy, like black electricity.
“Yellow Street Lights” shimmers and quakes and quivers with light, radiant synth exudations. A filtered, almost child-like voice fills the sonic spaces between the synths. A pulsing rhythm expands and grows in intensity atop buzzing timbres.
“Outrenoir” starts off with a measured hip-hop feel and chiming sounds. The effect of the music is akin to a dismal dirge in the bowels of hell – melancholy, somber, and stridently evocative, yet somehow superb.
Wow! Strange, outlandish, remote, and inscrutable are descriptive terms that come to mind, on one level. On another level, terms like tantalizing, aesthetically demanding, hypercivilized, and elite come to mind. Tristan is innovative and extremely sui generis. I really like it because of its key aspects: sonic allusion and industrial, metallic undertones that ignore most musical precedents.