Tucked in the heart of Koreatown lies The Libra Hotel—the titular architecture of Nick Malkin’s new 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. Much like Sinatra’s own spatial residency immortalized on “Live at The Sands,” “At The Libra Hotel” showcases an exuberant view of entertainment, hospitality, and a form of masculinity, one that can quickly detourn into darkness. Knowing this, Malkin extracts a melancholic core out of The Libra locale. The flickering shadows of American decadence are shown in their ephemeral honesty, lines that trace how even in everyday life virtue is tested, sanity is tested, even reality is tested within the confines of desire, within the night. The album is draped in fleeting textures, carefully arranged with a trance-like microtonality, the faint inflections and articulations of a jazz band cascading into dissipated stillness. Voicemails about changed locations and covert eavesdropping on guests' whispered conversations provide an atmosphere of missed connection and voyeurism—a purloined letter of desire receding into a vanishing point. Like the music itself, The Hotel, a chapel perilous at the intersection of desolation row, the center of it all, yet simultaneously at the edge of town, becomes a structure between libidinous virtuality and actuality—our inevitable half-light. Ultimately, the pensive atmosphere of “At The Libra Hotel,” powerfully asserts a plea for the kinds of intimacy only possible in transient spaces. Here, memory cascades into a force that feels like something supernatural, perhaps even religious, yet always subject to the infidelity of our imagination. Here, the album opens into its primary psychodrama, the transient nature of subjectivity itself and how this becomes fractured in the tumult between our commitments and desires. Within this nocturnal space, to quote Louise Bourgeois, "you pile up associations the way you pile up bricks. Memory itself is a form of architecture.