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You'll Be Safe Forever

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Album Review

In 2012, a few months after he released The Revenant Diary under his birth name, Mark Van Hoen was asked to perform live at New Jersey radio station WFMU. Van Hoen opted to create new material with the involvement of past collaborator Louis Sherman. The two's improvised pieces, developed prior to the on-air appearance, motivated Van Hoen to revive Locust, an alias that had been dormant for over a decade since the surprisingly direct and bracing Wrong. You'll Be Safe Forever is closer to Van Hoen's later birth-name material — dreamy, restrained, and alternately austere and densely textured, with the original vocals (this time from Jennifer Restivo) as "found"-sounding as the other voices that slip in and out. Despite a wide variety of sounds, some of which date back to 2006 recordings, the album maintains an alluring in-between emotional state that straddles dazed bliss and creeping terror. Created with an array of analog equipment — gearhead perking objects like the Alesis Andromeda, ARP Axxe, and Crumar Orchestrator — and modern software, the album has rare depth and richness for a 2013 release. Even the relatively punishing and abrasive tracks, like the glitz-less "Strobes" and the shuffling "Just Want You," are magnetic. The more physical moments are nearly outshone by a set of beat-less ambient pieces that amount to some of Locust's most riveting work. "Corporal Genesis," a quiet storm of drones and whispers, closes the album in chilling form. Somewhat ironically, this album was released on Editions Mego, rather than on the reactivated R&S subsidiary Apollo, Locust's '90s home.


Born: London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mark Van Hoen, also known as Locust, occupied the shadier, more melancholic side of contemporary ambient, assembling records of unmistakable beauty out of shards of dark, somewhat foreboding textures and arrangements. A London native active in the film and commercial music business before concentrating full-time on recording for release, Van Hoen produced a string of highly thought-of releases for the R&S subsidiary Apollo, as well as Touch and Editions Mego. Van Hoen quoted Steve Reich, David...
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You'll Be Safe Forever, Locust
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