|Mark Van Hoen
Playing With Time (1999)
|All titles written and produced by Mark Van Hoen at Pravda.
All titles published by Chrysalis Music Ltd.
Source vocals on 'Real Love' by Holli Ashton.
Source vocals on 'Love Is All' by Lisa Millet.
All other sounds created or found by Mark Van Hoen.
All DSP and editing my Mark Van Hoen on Protools.
LP compiled by Jon Wozencroft and Mark Van Hoen.
Mastered by Dennis Blackham at Country Masters.
Design and photography by Jon Wozencroft.
The track 'You And Me Inside' was used in a short film by Jeff Stark in 1999. The movie ran in theatres in the UK, and featured Ewan McGregor as 'The Stranger'
The man behind Locust has temporarily left the swarm to make something more ambiguous, and playing with time is exactly what he does -stretching, layering, repeating and looping instrumental phrases in a mesh of loveliness which is three parts Seefeel, one part early Orbital. 4/5
|Dazed And Confused
Strangulated vocal meets the millennium bug in the chill out room of the mind's eye. Exquisite production ideas that are so expertly executed - at times it's hard to know whether you are listening or dreaming. At the end of a topsy-turvy seven day head massacre, "Real Love" offers legitimate tranquillity.
Mark Van Hoen , one half of commercial outfit Locust, Mark Van Hoen is also a serious composer as his latest solo effort - showcasing a series of tracks based around the notion of time - attests, Not that Playing With Time resides in crapfest concept album territory rattler that the idea of contrasting tempos and loops has been used as the basis for this wildly divergent set.
Sometimes the theme is used in an obvious way, with clockwork rhythms underpinning a screwed Lip choir sound on Closer Than We All Thought, for Instance. At other times it's evident In the heavy reverb, transforming the lullaby vocals of Real Love into something far more imposing. And then at other times, Van Hoen simply mucks about with the very structure of his tracks, stopping and starting samples and loops to emphasis the digital nature of It all.
it's all tremendously clever and interesting, though occasionally you need to be ready to accept the ambient beauty without suddenly wondering whether the CD is jumping. Mark Ramshore
One half of Pop band Locust, Mark Van Hoen is actually also a critically acclaimed composer with five albums, numerous stage appearances and many visual exhibitions under his belt. Despite the wide range of previous releases this album definitely belongs on the Dance and Ambient page due to its innovative synthesised stand point.The title of the album best describes the contents: Mark plays with the concept of time in every single track. Musically, each tune bears an off-beat element through the way an instrument is mixed or in the way the vocals are layered on top. It's something of an experiment based on the idea that recorded music lives in non-real time and that recorded music cannot be reproduced live. Consequently tracks appear to skip in places, samples of old works are reintroduced and tempos just wander all over the place.
Playing With Time also offers variations on an eclectic musical basis, borrowing from techno, peaceful far-Eastern music and trashy industrial sounds which culminate in an open, contemplative space in the final track 'Love Is All'. The whole thing sounds extremely arty-farty but the sound scape is so deep and diverse that it's accessible to anybody into laidback beats and soothing, beautiful noise.Sara Davis
|Ministry "Ambient Album of the Month"
Dark Side of the Moon with bleeps; PlayIng With Time is a concept album. Prog ambient, if you will. Clocks chime and cogs whirr while Dutchman Mark Van Hoen plays with time signatures and his listeners' heads. Lie back and float along with First Steps' spiralling keyboards, tap your foot gently to the smokily cool organ hook on Once when I Was Fourteen and wig out, ever so slightly, to the metal machine trippiniess of Gifts And Prizes. Van Hoen's expansive electronica manages to create a sense of space, and you guessed it, time, that makes for a perfect slice of twilight chill. Top Tracks: First Steps, Gifts And Prizes, Once When I Was Fourteen
Fifth and best album of elegant electronica from the ex-Seefeel man.
From the breathy and mysterious opener Real Love to the marathon finale Love Is All, Playing With Time displays an impressive range of instrumentation and clever application of technology. Its 10 tracks draw on techno, trance and ambient influences without ever making you reach for the fast-forward button. There's even an extended Bobby Konders-style funky organ workout on Once When I Was Fourteen to stop the whole caboodle getting too airy and rootless. OK, Van Hoen occasionally gets a bit literal with the temporal allusions - music-box noises on Surrounder, clockwork cogs grinding away on Gifts And Prizes - but the results are so damn beautiful they take your breath away. Nine pieces of exquisitely crafted electronica set the scene and then Love Is All glides gracefully by and keeps the old-school ambient heads happy for 36 minutes. There's life in the old circuitry yet. Rob Chapman
Music, like so many other of life's pleasures, depends to a large extent on the context in which it is consumed. Ed Rush and breakfast, for example, do not mix, Neither do this LP and dancefloors, I would wager. Slap this on in the middle of a quiet reflective moment however, and hey presto - it becomes an altogether more intriguing beast. The title holds the key to the artists' intentions to fuck around with time and create feelings that could not have been Invented in 'real time', ie without the aid of a tape recorder (or its more sophisticated technological brethren). Thus, what you get is a melange of jerky, cut-up sounds, stretched out ambience and filtration and even (in one instance) a take on seriality albeit one that owes more to Far-Eastern music than to Steve Reich et al. Given the penchant of many 'experimental' musicians for overwrought cleverness, what ultimately works for this isits listenability - just pick the right moment.
The one record I can unreservedly recommend this week comes from Mark Van Hoen who, despite the name and the fact that he's signed to a Belgian label, is British. His latest album Is a bit more esoteric than his earlier material (recorded under the Locust): it's very sparse, very electronic and, given that it's all about our shifting concept of time, perhaps even a bit pseudy. But trust me, though it might initially sound like just a selection of disparate booming, feedback noilses, chiming clock
sounds and breathy vocals,It's a massive grower. If you're looking for the perfect, spacey chill-out album after a night's clubbing this Is definitely the one.James Delingpole
|The Sunday Times
Soothing and disorienting at the sarne time, Playing With Time is the latest ambient exploration from Mark Van Hoen, a former Seefeel producer who also plies his trade in a dancier form as Locust. The title says it all, really. Van Hoen uses echoes, delays, samples and shifting tempos to disrupt the usual flow of time through a series of tracks that range from eastern-inspired serial music to dark, eerie. drones. A couple of the pieces are let down by rhythm tracks that have an annoying twitteriness about them - odd from a musician capable of creating the fascinating dysfunctional hi-hat patterns of Once When I Was Fourteen or the machines - gonewrong pulse of Surrounder. But, for the most part, the alburn is dominated by Van Hoen's brooding
synth noises, lush string sounds and manipulated vocals, which meld into a sound that at its best has a positively spiritual quality about it.