Mark Van Hoen at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is the latest album by electronica legend Mark Van Hoen who has previously worked with or been a part of among others SeeFeel, Black Hearted Brother, Locust and Children of The Stones.

Time to put some candles on open a nice bottle of red wine and just sit back and relax and allow the music to wash over you; with the gentle ambient opener All For You slowly unfolding and relaxing you with soothing strings and piano. Aah!

We then get Froese Requiem I and II as a fitting tribute to the late great ambient master Edgar Froese. This adds some glitch-y percussion to the otherwise laid back keys and so you aren’t quite as relaxed as you were. I actually started to wonder if it was two records playing at the same time as the percussion is a real juxtaposition to the rest of the music, part II is far more like Tangerine Dream than part I to my ears at least. It is also the first track that is almost danceable.

Socrates Books opens with what sounds like a church organ over skittery beats. It has enough of a pervading sense of doom to be perfect for a Halloween horror soundtrack. Bring It Back is the strangest thing on the album so far; sort of odd noises with some muttered vocals and deep bass wails set to disturb your senses.

The Night Sky is music to accompany lying on your back on a rooftop and staring at the sky; looking at meteor showers or just trying to figure out the constellations. Kojiki has what sound like backwards Japanese vocals with odd organ playing a quite simple tune. It’s somehow off-centre and a little perturbing as the bass drum comes in to shake the room a little bit.

I Love To Fly is, in parts, a bit like Kraftwerk but strained through layers of opaque digitalia. It tries to be like The Orb’s Little Fluffy Clouds in places; the sort of tune that with the right re-mix could be an unlikely hit.

A Wish has disembodied vocals with jarring beats and weird keyboards to make sure you haven’t fallen asleep and are still drinking your red wine. As the vocals move around the speakers and you sit there puzzled as to whether there are any real words being sung or is it just noises.

The album closes with Sensing The Close that sounds like the outro to a 1970’s Italian horror film, as you watch someone like Claudia Cardinale walking away from the scene and the credits start to roll.

If you like laid back ambient weirdness then this album will be right up your street. Find out more at Mark Van Hoen at Saint Marie Records

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