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mark van hoen - The Revenant Diary
A very welcome return for Mark Van Hoen, the Seefeel founder member best known his ambient techno work as Locust and under his own name on Apollo and R&S in the mid-90s. The Revenant Diary, his first release on Peter Rehberg's Editions Mego, follows last year's fine City Centre Offices set Where Is The Truth, and explores similarly deep electronic sound-worlds, but it's less obviously song-based, and has different origin: while remastering some of his earliest recordings, Van Hoen was struck by the simplicity of a recording he made in 1982, a reel-to-reel experiment that, through serendipity as much as anything else, achieved a truly spooky, spellbinding result. Freshly inspired and reconnected to his young music-making self, he resolved to make his new record on 4-track using a minimal set-up. The resulting album is recognisable Van Hoen - all decaying drones, star-gazing synths, hypnotic rhythm and richly layered crackle - but there's a directness and an honesty to it that is palpable and refreshing even out of context. It's truly haunting music, with memory as its central theme - particularly powerful is the swirling 'Don't Look Back', and the epic closer 'Holy Me', a layered collage of voices reminiscent of Peter Christopherson's work in Coil and with CoH. Amazing cover art from Stephen O'Malley too.