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Go to the Locust website  Locust - Wrong [Touch - 2002]

Mark Van Hoen and Locust are names Iíve heard before, but never have checked out unfortunately. Apparently the British electronic sound artist has released numerous side projects too (including Scala, Aurobindo and Autocreation) and also did some production work. "Wrong" is the follow-up to the "Morning Light" album, released in 1997. Five years later we get two CDs with new material, but it is certainly not the usual double-CD set.

The excellent package describes these two discs as a twin CD, and not a double CD. Now whatís that? Simple. CD #1 contains normal songs and is supposed to be played on the main CD player; the second disc (a collection of drones) is "an expansion to normal domestic playback possibilities", and is not supposed to be played on its own. Instead, the second disc should be played on a ghetto blaster, portable CD player or home computer at the same time as CD 1, preferable in another room. This should create the effect as intended by Mark Van Hoen. An interesting concept, now let's try if this really works out...

Mark Van Hoen wanted to create a modern electronic sound, related to artists like Pan Sonic and Hazard, but on the other hand produce the spirit of late 1970s British electronic music. Obviously, in that time they didn't have samplers or anything to manipulate sounds like it is done today. Therefore Van Hoen didn't use them on "Wrong", the sounds only come from analogue synthesizers and vocals. The result is a very interesting sound, quite different from things we normally hear in electronic music: instead of perfect matches between all the sounds, Locust has certain defects in the rhythmic of those sounds, even strengthened by playing the second disc simultaneously.

Mark Van Hoen is helped out by Holli Ashton on vocals, together with different backing vocalists (Lisa Millet, Tara Patterson, Sarah Peacock and Vinny Miller), most of them he has worked with in the past in his different side-projects. Holli Ashton has a very mystical voice, but also very warm. If I should mention a comparison I would say Geike Arnaert from the Belgian trip-pop band Hooverphonic. Actually the music comes quite close to Hooverphonic as well: a modern (read: with a lot of electronics) pop sound with a dark edge.

It's fun how you can play and experiment with these two discs; it's certainly not only good music. You can experiment with the volume of the two discs, the location they're played at, start the second disc a few seconds earlier or later... Both CDs work out well solo too. The second CD might be too minimal and isolationistic to some, but I guess the experienced electronic music lover will have no problem with that. The disc with the "real" songs should appeal to a very large audience I think, so I recommend everyone who reads this to check "Wrong" out. Browse to the Touch website for the availability in different countries.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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