Posts Tagged ‘all music’

Mark Van Hoen at All Music

Nightvision is Mark Van Hoen‘s first album under his birth name since the preceding The Revenant Diary in 2012 — the producer issued You’ll Be Safe Forever (2013) and After the Rain (2014) asLocust. During that time, Van Hoen was involved with Children of the Stones and Black Hearted Brother, rather disparate and more collaborative projects that likewise yielded albums. On Nightvision, there’s a well-defined connection to the free-floating ambient Krautrock that informed all of After the Rain, but Van Hoen also puts new twists on his frost-coated beats. He pays tribute to Tangerine Dream leader and electronic music pioneer Edgar Froese (who died in early 2015) with a two-part, eight-minute requiem that recalls certain aspects of the electronic music pioneer’s discography while still sounding like a Van Hoen creation. “Socrates’ Books” and “I Love to Fly,” vaguely tranquilizing and terrifying at the same time, along with the beat-less “The Night Sky,” are also up there with Van Hoen‘s best. He still hasn’t made a poor or even middling album.

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Mind Brains at All Music

From the eccentric oasis of Athens, Georgia come Mind Brains, a shambling psych-pop ensemble featuring members of Marshmallow Coast, Olivia Tremor Control, the New Sound Numbers, and several other notables from the city’s vibrant indie scene. Their self-titled debut for Orange Twin is a highly collaborative affair and many have hailed them as a sort of Elephant 6 supergroup. There is certainly a freewheeling, exploratory spirit to the album, which melds together experimental Flaming Lips-ian pop with droning electronics, Krautrock tribalism, and bits of Gary Numan-esque new wave. Charming freakouts like “Body Horror” and the spooky “Strange Remember” are stitched together by short, effect-laden interludes that range from haywire amp sounds to cut-up guitar/sound effect pastiches. There are layers of ear candy and plenty of textural psychedelia, but it all seems a bit untethered, feeling more like the work of a collective than of a unified band. The music is cerebral and full of interesting ideas floating off in multiple directions without any major themes to anchor it. One of the strongest tracks, the album-opening “Happy Stomp,” creates a sprawling, mystical mood as it meanders dreamily around a single chord. It feels like a proper introduction, but it’s essentially followed by a collection of similarly loose tracks about which the same could be said. Mind Brains are no doubt an extremely creative group of like-minded friends and this album sounds like it was fun to make, but some added focus would be welcome next time around.

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