Weathered Well (1993)




All titles composed and executed by Locust (Chrysalis Music). Photography by James Bignell.
Sleeve design by The Designers Republic. Art direction by Locust.
Recorded by Locust under exclusive license to R & S Records, Belgium.
Mark Van Hoen used the following instruments to record this album, in 1992/3:
Synthesizers; Digisound Modular, Aries Modular, Oberheim SEM, Moog Rogue, Yamaha CS80, Pearl Analog Drumkit Module, Yamaha DX7, Korg Wavestation A/D.
Effects; TOA DDL, Maplin Analog Echo, GBS Reverb, Roland GP8 Guitar FX, Locust Ring Modulator, Morley Phaser, Cry Baby Wah-Wah, Revox B77
Thanks to: Nicky Latton, Kevin Hector, Tara Patterson, James Bignell, Daren Seymour, Mark Clifford, Sarah Peacock, Justin Fletcher, Martin Maeers, Annie Maeers, Ben Tisdall, The Bignell Family, Jane Brownhill, Helen Searle, Paul Harper, Steve Mudd, Marcus Lyall, Stephen Lea, Tony Morley, Tony Wilson, Patrick Sarch, my family, Loz + Paula, Lisa + Rick, Mark Sanders, Dave Klafkovski, Neil Halstead, Renaat + Sabine, Katrien, Marcus and Luc at R & S, Adam, Mark, Dave, Ann, Ben and Clare at Inter-Modo, Clive, Stuart, Simon, Andy, Steve and Michael at Chrysalis, Chris and Tony at Exclusively Analog, Michael and Ian at The Designers Republic, Kenton Electronics, Too Pure, Rephlex, Warp, The Orb, Seefeel, Aphex Twin, Reload, Autechre, Quirky.

Generator May '97
A double pack of 68 minutes ranging from the weird to the beautiful. 'Prospero' and 'Tamed' are definitely head tracks replacing the kick drum with a warm bass that resonates through your whole body. Contrasting to this is 'Lust' giving a wicked, decadent feet - industrial like with its use of hard sounds and samples. 'Moist Moss' is a timeless track of pure layered and detuned voices that fade in and out, a simple composition that sounds beautiful. 8/10
John Dickson



Mixmag Update 9th April 1994
Anyone following Locust's progress should (by law) already have their previous 12"s. Their third release in a couple of months stays in the same moody vein, and fucking incredible is the only way to describe the emotionpacked 'Prospero' and 'Moist-Moss' tracks. The recent wave of dark and distorted, eperimental British techno artists (no names mentioned), is moving forward at high speed and in our eyes and probably our eyes only, Locust have just put it a good few miles between themselves and the slackening pack.
Mark & Josh



Mixmag April 1994
If your Idea of ambient must Is somethIng to relax to, then forget "Weathered Well" You definatley won't be hearing this In many chillout rooms. Locust aka Londoner Mark Van Hoen, has produced to album is edgy is anything you're likely to hear all year.
Heavy on the atmosphere, this Is real music for frayed nerve-endings. 'Prospero' and 'Still' have a sense of menace In them, comparable to Eno's 'Musk For Films', And current single 'lust' conjures up some very peverse desires. Space plays an important part in this musk, never more to than on 'Moist Moss' and 'Xenophobe', where the silence within the music it used to create a real sense of tension.
It's when he ups the tempo, however, Van Hoen Ipushes you right over the edge, The childish hysteria of 'Weathered Gate'; tamed by synths bouncing off each other randomly, the clanging 'Music About Love' with it's overbearing background resonance. It's all too much.
Top quality nightmare music. 8/10
Peter McIntyre



Echoes 5th March 1994
Locust is Mark Van Hoen who, despite the name and his style of continental analogue ambience is in fact "a Londoner born and bred"., This is by no means a cross cultural journey through the capital by sampler, of the kind offered by The Future Sound Of London or The Diceman, but a solo trip through the clouds. At certain points during the first three tracks it sounds like it's going to break into one of those bottom heavy FSOL cuts, but they end up sounding like long intro's and, interestingly enough, during Weathered Gate a voice informs that "we're just teasing you" Things do start to improve thereafter, Tamed being a slow synthetic dub with some effective long bass notes. Still is minimalistic drone with a hint of a tune [is that the sound of Rizla papers there in the background?], and the breathy Gregorian voice samples that adorn Music About Love add A different shade to the album's dark synth colours. And while there's a nice, and suitably lascivious, vocal loop on Lust, there's also, sadly, an irritatingly prominent-hihat sound. The final track, Fawn,, finds Van Hoen springing to life complete with a full beat and an infectious round bass riff. How ambient can you get? This much.
Tony Corbin



NME 19th March 1994
God, this is bleak. Even during the fastest moments of 'Weathered Well', you get the feeling that beads of sweat would freeze on any dancer's forehead in seconds. It's like listening to the insistent thud of a heartbeat in the middle of the Arctic, echoing round and round. Stark, understated, unsettling.
Locust - aka Notting Hill's Mark Van Hoen - fits perfectly into the R&S label's current fine roster, alongside Biosphere and Robert Leiner. There's that eerie stillness, that distinctive sense of distance that imbues ambient techno with a new, superinhurnanity.-indeed, the opening 'Prospero' could well be Blosphere, with its minimalist hum and spectral crankiness.
Muc of the rest pulls off the curious trick of being upbeat and low-key at the same time, and being one-dimensional. In other words, the rhythm bashes along but with a. sort of muffled detachment, unsullied by any melodic fripperies. All well and good for a couple of tracks, but the formula gets a bit tedious until 'Music About Love', where that trademark pulse skips from gentility to frantic, drilling madness. It's claustrophobic, intense and very nearly unbearable: if this is what he describes as music about love, Van Hoen must've been in some horrific, suffocating relationships. A calm, soothing lullaby for a romantic pastoral shag this most definitely is not.
'Moist Moss', the stand-out track, probably suits that purpose pretty well. Great sweeping purrs of sound wash over the inevitably supine listener, like some dramatic, voiceless chorale, recalling The Irresistible Force or, from another angle, the Cocteau Twins at their most mysterious.
Ultimately, though, its a ray of warm light in a stylish, but too-often uninvolving, wasteland. Like the Arctic, 'Weathered Well' is beautiful to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. (6)
John Mulvey



Select May 94
LOCUST Weathered Wel R&S These days, if you're young and twiddle knobs on silver boxes everyone expects you to be some kind of wirehead god, a messiah to The Aphex Twin's John The Baptist. Techno kid Locust (Mark Van Hoen to his mum) apparently looks like a young Brian Eno. And like all the best techno talents he's also mysterious and elusive. Sadly, his debut falls short of expectation.
It's not bad, It's just not what it might have been. Sonically, it's somewhere between Aphex's lucid dreamscapes and Future Sound Of London's more cinematic flights of fancy, but darker in mood. Which occasionally makes Locust's creepy brand of techno hard work, although patience is largely rewarded - when it works 'Weathered Well' is the scary antithesis of spaced-out, dead-head ambience.
There's too much loose baggage to make this anything more than a patchy debut. Van Hoen: erratic genius or false techno prophet? A bit of both, probably.



London Student March 94
Occasionally graceful and sometimes grandiose, this isn't as synapse frying as Locust's recent live performances, yet it still hints at greatness. Stand out tracks include the regal Prospero and the frosty beatless, chord excursion Moist Moss. The rest plots similarly insistent paths as the debut EP. The LP's only low points are an all pervading sense of restraintand a distinct lack of murk. The productions too clean and consequently Weathered Well seems in places to be almost sanatised.



On April 94
Apollo, a division of R&S is rapidly becoming one of my very favourite labels. Locust deliver a nine tracker Weathered Well, over two slabs of vinyl which is chock full of haunting subterranean murmurs - effectively a double album in length and conception. This really is top class stuff, almost frightening in its intensity and visionary in its outlook. Forget your TV advertised Gregorian Chants albums (who would have guessed that, by the way!) and wallow in this 'Moist Moss'- a breathy beatless chamber of sound. 'Still' is just that, with a few added surprises, and 'Fawn' features some squeaks and church bells. Music for the afterworld.


DJ Magazine Interview April 94

If R&S are looking for a create figure to slot into the space left by the departure of Aphex Twin, perhaps locust fits the description. Following his import only "Skysplit EP" London based mark van Hoen has an album of unnerving, minimalist electronic experiments primed for release on R&S's apollo imprint. Entitled, "Weathered Well" it scouts through Techno's darkest gardens reflecting Marks long time fascination with the electronic Avant Garde and his dislike of shallow feather brained music.

" I don't enjoy listening to happy music - certain friends say I've got a very depressing record collection," he laughs, " but I find this sinister stuff more thought provoking and exciting; Its not that I'm a morose person."

After early connections with Autocreation & Seefeel { who he engineers for live and in the studio} Mark moved on to his own solo explorations styling odd harmonies and rare sounds. Intense and diligent in his approach to making music, he has plans to remove all keyboards from him studio leaving him to concentrate upon the computer and allowing mathematical formulas to shape his next album.

"Each album I make, I'm going to set new rules and parameters to work within - similar to what Brain Eno does on different production products"

Signed to Apollo for 6 albums, Mark like many Techno artists sees great scope for audio visual couplings in the future. As well as a possible long form video, he aims to incorporate appropriate imagery into his live sets which he makes up as he goes along. Keen to produce bands out of the Techno sphere, he develops his own tracks at lightening pace.

" Six hours on each on at the most. The longer you work on something the less soul it has. If you do a track quickly you are tapping into the raw creativity in your mind - if you don't, you start to analyse what you're making; you start to manufacture your music."

With absolutely no interest in getting into the remix game Mark says his style is " listening to music that has evolved from club culture" He feels no connection with the mainstream House scene and cares little if detractors class his music as 'student music.'

"Student music? Er I don't know. If people are willing to listen to my records I don't think I should be worried about what they do for a living and what their background is. Music should transcend all that stuff."


London Student Interview March 1994

Mark Van Hoen (aka Locust) knob twiddled away his adolesence listening to space shit, kraut rock and other forms, of European experimentalism. The point at which those references collide is a smart, state-of-the-art, experimental techno splat that's best summed tip live (yes, live - it's tile flew thing).
Van Hoen's played live twice: once at Quirky and once supporting Slowdive (Yes, Slowdive) - both being warped , disturbingly psychedelic brain shags of the first order.
Sometime soon, discerning punters will be able to experience feelings akin to those described when R&S release Locust's debut EP 'Skysplit' (featuring psyco-sexually dramatic wank-anthem 'Lust '
Locust's interesting, though, because not only, is he from a totally non-techno background, but he also, moonlights as a sound engineer for Seefeel and is also one faceless third of Autocreation. And all important link because like Autocreation he's part of the return back to the innovative, experimental ethic which initially guided techno, something that's not entirely new to the boy Locust:

"I've been doing this stuff for a long time. It's not necessarily a reaction to the fluffiness of ambience because I was doing dark stuff in the 80's."

What Locust does represent is the generation of kids that have grown with electronic music since the BBC Radiophonic Workshop first scared the shit out of them during 70's episodes of Dr Who. Kids who treat electronic music (for want of a less wanky term) like a second skin. Kids without pretensions - to them it is just music, contemporary pop music. And the tools they use to fashion it just happen to be big fuck off boxes with lots of flashing lights on them, as Van Hoen testifies.

"These instruments that I use are no different from plugging a guitar in" he says exasperatedly. "I do build my own instruments and I am quite technically minded but nowadays that's part and parcel writing music. It's no longer just the neurotic pop star who just turns up and knows a few guitar chords. You now have tobe master of several disciplines and have a good business sense."'

Its that attitude that makes this music so exciting because It's a direct challenge to rock's hegemony and it's forcing a change in the way music's traditionally perceived. Gone is the guitar-drumms-voice division of labour in favour of do your-own-thing-onyour-own-terms liberalism. Its forcing the whole industry to re-examine and re-invent the way music is created and marketed - radical changes that last occured in the halcyon days of the mid 70s.

And that's both smart and essential. Very.


Mark Van Hoen 1993  
Mark's studio at the time of recording 'Weathered Well' and 'Mettle'(left)....and the Aries Modular also used on 'Weathered Well' now owned by Robert Leiner  

Interview NME 1994


Sarah Champion review Melody Maker 9/4/1994

LFO's Mark Bell and Gez Varley choose Locust's 'Prospero' from 'Weathered Well as their favourite track.