Deluxe collection of Mark Van Hoen tunes, Electronic Music: 1982-1987 does what it says on the tin and gives you Van Hoen’s work from that period, an expansive range of early instrumental pieces influenced by his growing up in the Midlands. Double LP on snazzy blue vinyl, featuring original 35mm pictures of his recording equipment and processes so you can see how the magic happened.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 23 November 2017
Mark Van Hoen is the guy that went on to create such things as Seefeel and Locust but here we have an excellent collection of his home recordings from the 1980's when he was nobbut a lad living in Staffordshire. The tracks are from '82 to '87 vintage and they seem strangely out of time - as if they were too late for the late '70s primitive electronic boom and too early for the sort of home made electronica that would come when Aphex Twin got his claws on things.
The fact that he was making these while Bananarama were top of the hit parade is neither here nor there I suppose. In any case it's a collection of remarkable pieces using vintage synths and home made effects to create a batch of mesmerising ambience but knowing Van Hoen was so out of time when making it sort of adds to the mystique somehow. There are examples of near perfect cascading ambience ('Music For Dancers In Disguise') brilliant proto acid ('It's Called Peace') stuff that sounds like Cocteau Twins on a carousel ('Dispelling'), Basinski - treated piano '('Riverboats) and almost everything in between.
I found this an utterly fascinating collection - some of it points forward to the sort of stuff he'd later do - but it's a wide soundboard of ideas. If you are looking for an album of tape saturated, grainy early day synth experiments then this should be this week's purchase.
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- Electronic Music (1982 - 1987) by Mark Van Hoen
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