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Warmth Inside You

Warmth Inside You

  • Door Mark Van Hoen
  • Release 1-12-2009
  • Muziekgenre Electronic
  • Media-indeling CD
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Reviews BBC.co.UK Mark Van Hoen has been making electronic music for a long time now. He was an early producer of post rock pioneers Seefeel, a contemporary of Aphex Twin on the (then very important) R and S label as Locust, but he's never quite got the reputation he deserves for his music. Maybe this is because he hasn't followed the trajectory path of many of the artists who made it big in the days when I.D.M was the buzzword. He committed the cardinal sin early on of mixing electronics and vocals on his projects as Locust, and throughout his career he's pretty much stuck to using analogue equipment rather than the latest plug-ins, just using the digital gear to edit his music. Listening to what he's done over the past 12 years or so over various labels from R and S to 4AD, it's clear that it's time Van Hoen's music was up for critical reappraisal. Just one example; in a brief listen one can hear the influence on Boards of Canada's damaged melodies and dense claustrophobia, more so even than usual suspects like the Aphex Twin. Van Hoen's latest album The Warmth Inside You is completely instrumental. Following the same basic template he has always kept to, he builds complicated, unstable pieces. It's music on the brink between sleeping and waking states; nocturnal trance that draws you in. Maybe this is music for lovers; I'm not sure, the titles of the tracks seem to suggest so. The cover painting of a man and woman together in bed (but in a strange wonderland) suggest a surreal erotica; the music suggests a dangerous intimacy, all is not what it seems. The music on this record seems to do nothing very much. Van Hoen plays on rich textures, developing the music not by building up, but by morphing slightly, deepening in atmosphere, unsettling the listener. The sublime 'Questioning the Start' is built round a gently undulating chime, featuring a melody that reminds me of Augustus Pablo's melodica playing, pulsing in front off all kinds of dense noise and hidden vocal samples. 'The Help Without You' is all gamelan tones and slow radiophonic workshop melodies, dignified but exhausted. Finishing with 'Three People's Presence', the detuned nature of the melody almost makes you feel sick: it's wrong, it's strange, but it sounds so rich. This album is, however, more than just a mere collection of tracks; it seems to have a plan; taking on the cold nature of a virus, pulling you under to pull you apart, subsuming the area of the brain that finds everything fascinating, teetering on the edge of disgust and adoration. Reviewer: Marcus Scott The Milk Factory For a man who has spent most of his career either in the shadow of bands such as Seefeel, Scala, or in more recent years, Mojave 3, in a producing role, or behind Locust, a project he has been leading for over ten years, Mark Van Hoen remains an emblematic figure of the electronic scene. With an instantly recognisable sound, combining heavy electronics with guitars and pop sensibilities, Van Hoen has helped shape part of the electronic scene of today. Born in London in 1966, Mark Van Hoen grew up in Birmingham, before returning to the capital at the tail end of the eighties. Although he names influences ranging from Steve Reich to Brian Eno and John Coltrane, Van Hoen's first foray onto the music scene was as one third of Autocreation, a dance floor-orientated outfit with whom he released an album, Mettle, in 1994 on Belgian label R&S before leaving to concentrate on his solo projects. On that same year, he released a collaboration with Seefeel bassist, Darren Seymour, and his first album as Locust, Weathered Well. Combining elements of techno and ambient into dark electronic songs, Van Hoen began to developed his truly unique form of pop music. Weathered Well was followed by Natural Composite, which collected Mark's 1994 Peel Session together with the Needle and In Remembrance Of Times Past EPs. Over the next few years, Van Hoen has juggled between his own releases and his production work for Seefeel and, later Scala and Mojave 3. Almost three years after the last Locust album, Wrong, Mark Van Hoen returns with his second album under his name. If, over the years, the Locust sound has grown to include occasional vocals, The Warmth Inside You returns to entirely instrumental compositions and focuses entirely on Van Hoen's analogue electronics and heart-warming melodies. The production is, expectedly, spotless; yet this album appears in some ways less polished than it's predecessors. Emphasising largely on old-style analogue sounds, Mark Van Hoen gives this album a retro feel, evoking seventies film music far more than contemporary abstraction. Yet, The Warmth Inside You is more insidious and dark than it first appears. Under it's faux air of nonchalant stroll through warm sonic landscapes, Van Hoen crafts some disturbing ambiences around dub-flavoured percussions, heavy bass lines and slow-paced ambient moments, contaminating melodies with rampant melancholy. Nothing here appears as it really is. Van Hoen hints at impressions, suggests emotions, and yet doesn't at any point impose anything. The Warmth Inside You is a work of great subtlety and the manifestation of an apparently limitless talent. For this latest effort, Mark Van Hoen seemingly returns to his early sound, presenting here a piece of work that is at once evocative and dreamy, retro and modern, innocent and perverted. With The Warmth Inside You, he reasserts his position on the music scene and appears more confident than ever Colin Buttimer Eleventhvolume.com Mark Van Hoen is probably best known for his vocal-oriented project Locust, but he's also responsible for a series of forays into the world of instrumental electronica. What nominally differentiates Van Hoen's music from most of it's electronic peers is the analogue technology he deploys, but what really distinguishes this particular album is the sense of a beating heart at it's centre: technology is harnessed to examine emotional states, rather than to avoid them. The portrait on the cover of The Warmth Inside You provides a useful signpost to the subject matter explored here: a woman holds a large object redolent of a womb and, from a different angle, a bird against her stomach while her apparently troubled partner lies beside her. Anxiety haunts most of these eight tracks: beats lumber heavily along like turtles making their way down to the ocean and melodies occasionally float up like welcome liferafts in music that is alternately stormy, sepulchral and strangely comforting. Mid-paced tempos pulse all too patiently and are shadowed occasionally by high tones reminiscent of the sort of warning bleeps emitted by medical equipment. Van Hoen gradually increases the pressure by tracing out methodically rising and falling arpeggios. The result is a distinct tension between the inexorable progress of the music and the sense of apprehension which hangs over it like an unwelcome stormcloud. While much of the album delineates feelings of tension and foreboding, the album ends on an elegiac note with the throbbing bass and echoing chimes of Three People's Presence. Louis Sherman, Etherea, New York 'The Warmth Inside You is everything that it's name implies. It is perhaps the sound of a mind at peace and a heart at rest. Lush tones speak of times forgotten and times to come, those that made their mark and those that were left in the subconscious only to bubble up unexpectedly years later. The strains of his previous material still surface from time to time and even pervade the entire work with a maturity that only comes with dedication and experience, not the intuitive wisdom of a seeker, but the patience of a master. Subtle vocal samples speak from a time when grandiose pop experiments were to the fore and lush orchestrations echo the industrial symphonies of early Locust, however there is a far different force at work here on the horizon. Perhaps this is the sound of pop radio in another universe. The album is a work of subtle intentions and manifest realizations. It is a throbbing dictionary of the warmth available from analogue machines moving from sentiments half formed to deliberate and concise modes of expression. It is a dense and unformed miasma drawn by gravitational forces of experience into a heavenly body. Perhaps the most realized work of Mark Van Hoen's catalogue. It speaks of places that are beyond the obvious while at the same time being intuitive and natural. It is familiar and yet alien. Filled with strange melodies and odd rhythms that churn and grow with the timing of an endless Sunday. Perhaps there are hints to actual events and scenarios although you would be hard pressed to place any of the sounds beyond the fact that they are generated from analogue instruments. The only comparison that can truly be made is perhaps an expressionist painting that hints at the landscape, presents all the elements and yet does not force the eye to follow the lines of the subject. It takes the musical language of Mark Van Hoen and colonizes not new planets but the small and delicate moons into a kind of resort for the mind, bringing familiar concepts into the strange landscape of an alien environment. This is not to say that the music is so out there that it cannot be understood. It is easily grasped but elusive in it's form just as you can see the shapes and forms that are hinted in expressionist works. It shares the most commonality with the early R&S records from Locust, but rather than twisted, dark techno it is playful and wistful. It contains a joy and sadness at the same time. It is pregnant with meaning and yet not exclamatory. Oscillating between two poles of emotion and creating a dynamic in this oscillation, which is not a device but a method to achieve a stasis rather than a conclusion. The tracks fade away to be replaced by a different song all the while hinting at that which came before and making reference to the journey to come. No surprises here only the lurking suspicion that there is more going on than you think. Repeat listening is the key here. Several friends that were not versed in electronic music beyond the several mainstream hackers were enrapt with the sounds and melodies and when the music stopped we all looked at each other and wondered what was amiss and realized ?Oh, the CD is over.? And started it again for the 5th time. A peerless work of mastery.'

Details

Kunstenaar: Mark Van Hoen
Titel: Warmth Inside You
Genre: Electronic
Releasedatum: 1-12-2009
Label: CD Baby
Media-indeling: CD
UPC: 823566020523

Credits