After the Rain

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After the release of You'll Be Safe Forever, Mark Van Hoen made distinctive albums with Black Hearted Brother and Children of the Stones, the latter of which included help from Locust partner Louis Sherman. Armed with modular synthesizers, organs, a piano, and samplers, Van Hoen and Sherman quickly reconvened to make the second Locust album released within an 18-month span. Nach dem Regen -- er, After the Rain, that is -- bears certain Locust touches, with scattered vocal contributions from women the foremost aspect, but it otherwise plays out like a concise sequence of paeans to mid- to late-'70s German electronic music released on labels such as Sky and Brain. More specifically, it's the dreamier and more melodic aspects of the output from Harmonia and Cluster, as well as those musicians' work alongside Brian Eno, including Cluster & Eno and After the Heat, that inform this work. From its slow succession of doleful but consolatory sounds to evocative, Eno-like track titles -- "Under Still Waters," "Downlands," "Lonely Shores," and so forth -- Van Hoen and Sherman do nothing to conceal their affinities. Too imaginative and finely crafted to serve as a mere tribute, After the Rain is increasingly enticing with each play. The duo master the style with imagination and leave a mark of their own.

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