MARK VAN HOEN: The Revenant Diary (Editions Mego)


Posted on Feb 10th 2012 01:32 am

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Mark Van Hoen: The Revenant Diary

The Revenant Diary
Editions Mego 2012
11 Tracks. 54mins16secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

From his days in Seefeel, Croydon-born Mark Van Hoen has always operated between electronica and pop music. Having left the band before they recorded their debut EP to pursue his solo career, he signed to Belgian dance label R&S in 1993 and began to release music as Locust, a project which occupied most of his time for the next seven years and resulted in as many albums. It is during that time that he began integrating lyrics and vocals in his compositions, and it is a feature which has remained fairly consistent ever since, whether through his personal projects or as a member of Scala, formed with former Seefeel members Daren Seymour, Justin Fletcher and Sarah Peacock.

The Revenant Diary is Van Hoen’s fifth album published under his name and his first for Editions Mego. It is also the follow up to last year’s Where Is The Truth (City Centre Offices), which marked Van Hoen’s return after a six year hiatus. Van Hoen continues to explore familiar themes here, combining crisp analog electronics, ambient moods and vocals, but, instead of the fairly recognisable song structures heard on Where Is The Truth, the man opts here for the much ghostlier textural imprints of 37/3d, Where Were You, Unknown Host or Laughing Stars At Night. Even at its clearest, on Don’t Look Back, Georgia Belmont’s voice is looped and distorted until the track title becomes an intoxicating mantra. Pushing vocal processing to a new extreme, Van Hoen builds closing piece Holy Me from sampled vocal textures upon which he applies slight vocoded effects to create a piece which is strangely haunting, yet utterly devoid of any humanity.

His electronic constructions are extremely slick and precise, yet his sounds are often gritty, granular and distorted. His approach here was determined by the simplicity of a track he had recorded back in 1982, upon which he stumbled whilst remastering some of his early material. This led him to decide use 4-track tape to lay the foundations for The Revenant Diary. The overall mood is particularly ethereal, especially on the sombre I Remember, with its sweeping bubbling electronics, or the dreamy Where Were You, on which Belmont’s voice floats hazily over a recurring theme. On No Distance, he injects a playful 8-bit-like motif over dense chords, while Unknown Host is driven by a relentless mechanical groove.

Ultimately, The Revenant Diary is stamped with Mark Van Hoen’s highly individual style. He may have partly returned to the ways of working he first used on his early recording, but the fact that this album doesn’t feel out of place against his more recent work shows that, whilst his methods of working may have changed over the years, his approach has remained unchanged.


Mark Van Hoen | Editions Mego
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

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