Yuri Honing is probably one of the more significant Dutch sax players of the last two decades. He has played everything from pop to avant-garde jazz, and as a rule, every new album is a new journey. Yet, "Hotel Terminus" is still a huge surprise even for the unpredictable Honing.
First of all, this album features Honing in a duo with Dutch musicologist Erik Bosgraaf, who has made dozens of albums featuring his playing on the Baroque recorder. All of the cuts on "Hotel Terminus" are dedicated to different hotels (both existing, and one imaginary - Hotel Terminus)and was announced as a "soundtrack to a non-existent movie". Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's "Brandenburg Concertos", this album's music is a strange and beautiful mix of Medieval, Baroque, ambient, avant-garde jazz and post-rock. Down-tempo classical tunes are the basis for sax improvisations, and guitar distortion with lot of processed sounds played over them.
Opener "Adler" is a true Baroque composition with a clear tune, but don't be fooled, it's just the album's first two minutes. The second composition, "Ibis", (all of Europe is covered by the Economy class "Ibis" hotels, living in Holland I spent too many nights in "Ibis" hotels from Schipol to Arnhem, they are all kind of faceless supermarkets with visible and invisible evidence of millions of visitors passed) is a repetitive tune in a post-rock style with sax solo improvisations adding even more melancholy. "Western" is a short electro-acoustic song with lots of sound effects and scratching distorted guitar, probably the album's most energetic composition.
"Sheraton" opens with processed guitar sounds, but then continues into a flowery Baroque flute piece, which then procedes to balance the tune's beauty with the distorted electronic sounds. "Hyatt" opens with processed guitar sounds and a bass rhythmic frame and then continue to another beautiful Baroque tune for reeds (with electronic effects over it)."Umai" is the last "real life" hotel dedication, and it features recorder and sax in a duo improvisation over heavy rhythmic structures.
"Hotel Terminus" is the album's closer and its the longest composition on here. It contains all of the elements which were presented on the previous compositions - beautiful Baroque tunes, aerial lyrical flute, processed guitar sounds, ascetic distortion, free form sax improvs - all mixed in a quirky and gorgeous "Imaginarium..." soundtrack. This is a difficult album to categorize and should appeal to open ear listeners - one of the more pleasant surprises of this year. Recommended!