Weathered Well

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Locust's approach to electronic music is a sublime marvel to behold, one that bridges the gap between naptime ambient and mad scientist experimental. One thing Mark Van Hoen almost always succeeds at is emotional content and mood in a genre that typically embraces the opposite (consider the popularity of cold acts like Autechre). Weathered Well is a wonderful and chilling album that also has a mild identity crisis: Depending on the track, listeners could be hearing Patrick O'Hearn, Andrea Parker, Edgar Froese, or a host of others. Track two, "Moist Moss," seems to recall the spirit of Brian Eno's Music for Airports, with its breathy washes of vocal chord samples that could seemingly go on forever without resolution, and without growing tiresome on the ear. "Weathered Gate" seems a bit forced with its club-style 4/4 beat, like some sort of hybrid between Ken Ishii, Aphex Twin, and Seefeel -- all in all, this is the one track that feels bit out of place (and, not surprisingly, the most mechanical). With so many other musicians coming to mind, it's as if Van Hoen is either trying to find his own voice or showing listeners all the different voices he can use. Regardless, Weathered Well is a noteworthy contribution, seeped in mystery, tension, and melancholy. If you own this and his pop-friendly album Morning Light, you've got a great cross-section of everything Locust can do, which is a lot.

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