Moon Hotel Lounge Project is the brainchild of Tom Moon, author of 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die and a critic who’s contributed to Rolling Stone, GQ and others. He conceptualized Into the Ojalá as a soundtrack for the bizarrely faceless spaces that fill hotels, lounges and corporate office buildings. Moon, who is a longtime saxophonist, gathered a group of players from the Philadelphia jazz scene to record some of his tunes. He is quoted in the press release saying that the album was to “operate on several levels: as a pleasant background wash… and also as music for reflection that rewards closer listening”.
Unforutnately, Into the Ojalá tends toward the former. Easy listening gives itself away with its timbre and rhythm. The textures are often syrupy, sometimes saccharine and always bland; the melodic and metrical emphases are pat, fluid and usually insipid. Only with overwhelming charm or underwhelming pretentions can such a sound succeed, and Into the Ojalá has neither. The solos, on the whole, are characterless. Moments of uncertainty and imbalance are immediately negated by gelatinous passages. The premise—a rock journalist enters the studio to make an album about the liminal dimension of modern hotel design—is much more interesting than the product.