Cover photography by Amanda Charchian
Cover design by Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O)))
“A confluence of…everything. Airy synths drift over a heavy drum loop that slowly compresses itself into tunnels of sound, and there’s a ghostly, Aphex Twin-esque vocal sample that fuzzes and glitches beyond the point of intelligibility. It feels like a survey of noise and harsh electronics against a welcoming backdrop. But beyond all that, it’s a gorgeous track that effortlessly synthesizes so many disparate sounds into one cohesive piece“.
– The Fader
“Mark Van Hoen is one of the mergers of two different sides of electronica – surreal, pastoral compositions and colder architectural sound experimentation. His sound is extremely hard to define as it incorporates diverse elements from different genres, including trip-hop, ambient, techno, experimental, abstract. All this makes a great trip into the world full of emotions, dreams, subconscious thoughts and just pure electronic music beauty.”
– Secret Thirteen
Locust just announced their full-length release on European electronic label Editions Mego this April 16th, entitled You’ll Be Safe Forever. The two Locust band mates Mark Van Hoen and Louis Sherman have accomplished the melding of 50 years of electronic musical history in a beautifully crafted album, with sounds evoking memories of early electronic icons like Delia Derbyshire, through to Tangerine Dream, Eno, Throbbing Gristle, LFO and beyond. The record combines ’80s industrial techno, the spoken word of underground disco, cosmic synth lines, and ambient distorted dream vocals combined with rhythmic looping drums.
“Strobes” is the first digital single off the new album that blurs the line between the avant-garde, dance and ambient noise with an optimistic, rollicking drum beat, groovy vocal samples, and eerie synth elements. Another standout song “Just Want You” features darkly twinkling synthesizers, and ominous, thumping percussion that guides the track along into sinister, uncharted territory. The gently pulsing electronics of “Fall For Me” combined with airy vocal samples and an almost head-banging percussion, sprinkled with soft, soothing piano melodies. “Oh Yeah” is laced with a child’s whisper and huddling, frenetic percussion that feels more like a heartbeat than dance material. Sherman decribes the album as “an experience rather than a collection of songs. We made sure the whole album flowed like an evening with ebbs and flows that create a journey towards the ultimate cosmic zone at the end.”
The record showcases prime examples of Van Hoen’s compulsively hypnotic beats and abstracted pop vocals—already hallmarks of his collected work since 1993 both in his own music and with collaborators Seefeel, Slowdive & Scala to weave a unique sonic tapestry, as inviting as it is intricate. Paired with Sherman’s evocative synthesizer improvisations—an immediately visceral element new to Locust—this new partnership has crafted a shattered landscape that bridges two perspectives of progressive movement in electronic music under a single name. “Working with Mark was magic from the first note.” says Sherman. “We had written most of the record in just one session improvising.” The album was primarily written in Louis Sherman’s studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn and completed in Van Hoen’s studio in Woodstock, New York. Sherman, an American from Baltimore, comes to the band armed with a vast knowledge of the history of electronic music. This, combined with Londoner Mark Van Hoen’s known musical pedigree, and production expertise maps the complete topography of a landscape…
The overall effect of You’ll Be Safe Forever seems to promise the contrary — not unlike a haunting dream that wakes you up to a different reality, shrouded in an almost spectral haze. The tracks are instrumental but there are voices everywhere, cut up and tweaked or stretched out, leaving echoes of silence. The overall result, Van Hoen says of the album, is that “the music is more emotional than academic”. Locust’s new release You’ll Be Safe Forever makes you question what you’re hearing and feeling all at once. The result is something unquestioningly, mind-bendingly beautiful.
Locust will be playing at the Editions Mego special event at the De La Warr Pavilion in the UK this May 11, alongside Luc Ferrari, Kevin Drumm, Mark Fell, Fennesz and more (full details here).
1 Fall For Me
2 I Hear A Quiet Voice
4 The Worn Gift
5 Just Want You
7 Oh Yeah
8 Do Not Fear
9 More Like Prayer Than Science
10 The Washer Woman
11 The Flower Lady
13 Corporal Genesis