Posts Tagged ‘mark van hoen’

Mark Van Hoen at The Vinyl District

Electronic music is often judged on the breakthroughs reliably brought to the turntable by fresh voices. Although focusing on newcomers is surely understandable, the worthwhile contributions of veterans shouldn’t be misplaced, and the latest release from UK born and current Los Angelino Mark Van Hoen is an excellent example. Nightvision finds the longstanding solo artist and deft collaborator exploring familiar territory and avoiding redundancy; it’s out November 13 on LP/CD/digital via the Saint Marie label.

Prominent on Mark Van Hoen’s résumé is his series of recordings as Locust, the tally accruing a mess of EPs and a half-dozen full-lengths beginning with 1994’s Weathered Well on the R&S Records ambient subsidiary Apollo. After the following year’s Truth is Born of Argumentsand ’97’s Morning Light, Locust shifted to the Touch imprint for ‘01’sWrong, a pair of CDs intended to be played simultaneously.

Locust then undertook a long hiatus as Van Hoen remained highly active. In fact the output under his own name actually spans back to ’97’s The Last Flowers of the Darkness on Touch and prior to that ‘94’sAurobindo: Involution, a duo work with his Seafeel/Scala colleague Daren Seymour issued on Ash international.

Alongside extensive production credits additional creative partnerships have accumulated; early on there was the trio Autocreation in cahoots with Tara Patterson and Kevin Hector, their album Mettle hitting racks in ’94 through Inter-Modo, a fleeting imprint run by the Orb’s Alex Paterson. More recently Black Hearted Brother, Van Hoen’s duo with Slowdive/Mojave 3 guitarist Neil Halstead has emerged, releasing Stars Are Our Home through Sonic Cathedral Records.

Van Hoen’s arrival in the mid-‘90s may have heralded him as a new name, but he’d already been recording for a decade; Locust’s ’94 In Remembrance of Times Past collected ‘80s material, and so did The Worcester Tapes, 1983-1987, a limited edition cassette appearing under the Van Hoen moniker earlier this year on the Tapeworm label.

This ten-year period of activity is no shock, but far less likely is Van Hoen’s continued relevance in a field not especially known for fostering longevity. Part of the reason can perhaps be attributed to his loose allegiance to genre; unlike those scoring a big plunge into more rigidly outlined (or even faddish) waters, he’s evaded getting stylistically boxed in or for that matter tactically constrained; the early Locust stuff relied more on programming and sequencing, and After the Rain, the project’s ‘13 effort on Editions Mego derives from live playing in collab with Louis Sherman and a handful of singers.

Van Hoen’s not averse to beats but he’s also not accurately assessed as a dance guy. He leans instead into experimental, abstract, drone, and ambient territory, making his oeuvre well-suited for the home environment. Listing the expected influences of Brian Eno and Kraftwerk and sprinkling in the welcome but unsurprising additive of Steve Reich and less frequently cited precedent of David Sylvian, he later enthused over the inspiration triggered by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

That last name can imply a certain avant-severity, though extremes are not generally Van Hoen’s bag. While the layered vocal repetition of “Holy Me,” the final nine and a half minute track from his ’12 Editions Mego LP The Revenant Diary did tangle with the fringes, nothing onNightvision travels so far into the aural deep-weeds, the disc’s opener “All for You” utilizing gradually unfolding and slow-drifting keyboard patterns and minimal rhythmic undercurrents to produce an atmosphere fairly tagged as retro-futuristic as it lacks any palpable throwback irony.

It’s a bit like a blend of two professed Van Hoen faves, namely Cabaret Voltaire and Tangerine Dream, with the latter signifying a recurring cinematic quality. To wit, during “Froese Requiem I” the big beat promotes action, the keyboards instill dramatic tension, and the short spurts of tech suggest a potentially malicious robot lingering somewhere in the narrative.

Opening “Froese Requiem II” is an ethereal motif spiced with a touch of static, though the setting quickly shifts into glistening/burbling electro and drum thump. It’s somewhat akin to waking up at 2AM on the couch in the rec-room as the credits to a rented VHS tape unspool on the television screen. Certainly of interest to fans of John Carpenter’s sonic endeavors (soundtrack and otherwise), the diced femme voice lends distinctiveness to the piece.


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Mark Van Hoen at Under the Radar

Today, we’re pleased to premiere the video for “Bring It Back,” the latest from influential electronic composerMark Van Hoen (Seefeel, Black Hearted Brother, Scala, Locust, etc.). “Bring It Back” was taken from the albumNightvision, which is set for a November 13 release on Saint Marie. Below, you can watch the clip and check out upcoming tour dates. Connecting with us over email, Van Hoen was also able to share some in-depth thoughts about the song and video:

“The video for ‘Bring It Back’ uses a combination of analog and digital techniques – much like the music itself. There are multiple layers of video, from several ‘found’ sources, some of which were also used to generate the cover artwork for the album ‘Nightvision’. The image of the owl is a reference to Jon Wozencroft’s artwork for my 1996 album ‘Last Flowers From The Darkness’, present because some of the elements of the “Bring It Back’ were recorded during the sessions for that album. My music often draws from old recordings, sometimes dating as far back as the early 80’s. There are many experiments that were good initial ideas, but were never developed into full compositions at the time. It’s good to be able to use this pool as a source for new tracks, because it’s an opportunity to revisit a time and a place quite different from my current mode of working. The music here uses an alternative tuning scale, as I commonly used in the mid 90’s and the video features modulations applied from the music via both digital means (via VDMX software) and analog (via my LZX Industries Video Synthesizer). The vocalizations (found via an amateur acapella youtube performance) along with the other elements in the music and the video are intended to invoke the feelings you may get when having an intense dream or hallucination that makes no direct sense, but has some kind of net effect on your feelings nonetheless.”



Mark Van Hoen at Tiny Mixtapes

Remember several weeks ago, when we (the media) alerted you (the consumer) to the fact that chill electro/drone mastermind Mark Van Hoenwould be releasing a new album of trippy, soft-neon, late-nite-snackage calledNightvision on November 13?

Yeah, I know, we were pretty anal-retentively on top of our shit, considering what a laid-back piece of work this thing is sure to be. But I promise: today is different. Because as of this morning, you can exclusively stream the new album in-full leading up to its triumphant release! YES. And while you’re doing that, you can pre-order 972 copies of the album to give away to everyone in your high-rise condo, if so inclined. Betcha you’d be pretty cool and popular if you did that.

Nightvision is out November 13 via Saint Marie Records. Check out the soft, ambient firestorm down below, and get ready to FREAK-the-frigg-OUT.

Oh, but then, get ready to calm back down. Like real quick.


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


Mark Van Hoen at Austin Town Hall

In my world (I know it’s a skewed one), there are two types of electronic music: one type makes you dance (or aims to) and the other is more of an exploratory sort. The exploratory sort seems to be the world Mark Van Hoen‘s been crafting for us; it’s the sort seeking to tell a story through one’s time spent with the music. On “I Love to Fly” there’s a simple buzz  or warble working immediately, creating this warmth through the trickling synthesized beat; I love hearing the vocal sample that pops up twice in the track, adding a nice extra layer to the story I created in my brain. What’s the story you’re crafting? Expect to find yourself creating many more when Mark releasesNightvision on November 13th via Saint Marie Records.


Mark Van Hoen at Collapse Board

Back in high school, I kept a log of my dreams. Nothing fancy, really – under each entry, I noted the people that appeared, and the events that occurred, and then an explanation for why I thought those events and people materialized. My initial goal was to sound out my subconsciousness – why did this guy from my high school band recur so much? Why was I always crashing cars? Why did my brother shoot me? And when the sky spiraled down to me and I tried to scream, was that death?

A few years later, I stumbled upon the term “lucid dreaming” in my brother’s dorm room, in a book that one of his roommates owned. It was as if I’d learned that magic does exist. A world you could mold with your mind! Hours reclaimed from the void of REM (no, not that REM)! The powers of flight!

After eight years of intermittent practice, though, I can’t say I’ve ever reached a lucid state. Once, in my freshman year of college, I willed dragon wings to sprout from my back – but pain shot through my shoulder blades so fast that I wished away my control. Which was a bad idea, because then my dream self went on to munch a ceramic plate. And that also hurt.

But I can at least attest to what my dreamscapes look and feel like – sometimes high schools with inverted or upside-down halls; sometimes crystalline caverns; sometimes green bunker tunnels descending to a pixelated hell. I hear all of this in Mark Van Hoen’s music, and especially here, with the woman that speaks but not in words. She’s one of those people that appear in my dreams, and whom I inexplicably know, in some parallel memory bank that I can access just like my real memories. In these worlds, there’s also objectives the protagonists (I don’t always star in my own dreams) must do, which seem perfectly clear in the moment, but then vanish the second the alarm goes off. “Froese Requiem 2” seems guided by that sort of goal, drifting as it does from hallowed temple to mirrored labyrinth.

Hoen knows what he’s doing, though. Since 1981, he’s been in groups with names like Locust, Seefeel, and Children of the Stones, and owns an imprint of R&S named after the Greek god of divination, Apollo. I suspect, with such chops as these – and with such sunken worlds like “Froese Requiem 2” – he must be a pro at lucid dreaming. Teach me, O wise sage, of the magicks you wield beyond the waking world.


Mark Van Hoen at Magnet

Mark Van Hoen’s latest record is called Nightvision, and “I Love To Fly” seems to indicate that this title is more than apt. The new song from this L.A.-based artist is almost perfectly prepped for the less intense moments of ‘80s horror movies. The track is perfect for the lead up to Halloween—the electronic landscape only permeated by a distant and unsettling (in a good way) spoken-word performance.Nightvison is out November 13. Download “I Love To Fly” below.


Mark Van Hoen at This is Books Music

The way Nightvision (Saint Marie) begins, one would expect for the electronic music of Mark Van Hoen to be on the past of electronic music from the 1970’s and early 80’s, where it may appear to fans of elegant soundtracks. It’s relaxing. WHen it gets to song #2 (“Froese Requiem I”), the sound of sampled and/or filtered drums changes the composition, and it made me have to rethink of what may be ahead.

In truth, Nightvision does sound like the soundtrack to a movie that has yet to be made, or perfect mental music for night people, that would be the best way to describe this. It’s full of electronic wizardry, slightly dated at first but then I realized “it’s not so much dated as it is traveled, a music that has come from a place, it has landed and it is continuing its travels from where it was to where it’s going.” That’s the best way to describe it, and it may be an accurate way to talk about when it was recorded, as the credits say the music was done between 2008 and this year, a seven year destination that has lead us to here, to hear.

(Nightivision will be released on November 13th and can be pre-ordered directly from Saint Marie Records.)


Mark Van Hoen at Broadway World

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