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Locust - You値l Be Safe Forever

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Artist: Locust

Album: You値l Be Safe Forever

Label: Editions Mego

Review date: Mar. 27, 2013

The most salient takeaway for me regarding You値l Be Safe Forever is that we basically have a radio station to thank for the first Locust album in a dozen years. As an advocate for the form, this is incredibly heartening.

Of course, it wasn稚 just any radio station that got Mark Van Hoen and Louis Sherman in a room together long enough to realize their collaboration was more than just a one-off. Proving yet again what an invaluable resource and cultural institution it remains, Jersey City痴 WFMU invited Van Hoen to come in and play live. Though Van Hoen had remained active as a solo artist under his own name, the last Locust release was 2001痴 double-discs-played-simultaneously Wrong. Perhaps inspired by the revived Seefeel of which he was also a part, Van Hoen reclaimed the name. Sensing the added opportunity of a new whimsy and intrigue to the performance, Van Hoen invited Sherman to assist on synthesizers. You can give it a listen here to relive early versions of songs that have now made it to You値l Be Safe Forever .

What you値l notice, however, is that a song like 典he Washer Woman hasn稚 changed much in the time since. These latest Locust tracks arrived fully formed and the results are a surprisingly welcome addition to the discography. The hallmarks of a typical Locust release are here (slower tempos familiar to the trip-hop faithful, hearty helpings of the kosmische, touches of Brian Eno-esque ambient), often aided by Jennifer Restivo痴 vocals as an added flourish.

There are a few change-ups to keep it interesting. Though it starts with the familiar sounds of 擢all for Me, 鉄trobes follows shortly with more forceful percussion and chopped vocals; it痴 a remix of which there is no original. 笛ust Want You reminds me of a Battles track before Tyondai Braxton left. The hazy exotica of dub-strong loop 鉄ubie shows up late in the running order. The tension on 典he Washer Woman in the persistent guitar plucks and grandly ascending/descending synth lines remains my favorite part of both the WFMU broadcast and the album proper.

The tracklisting is bolstered by interspersed ambient bits n bobs like 的 Hear a Quiet Voice, 典he Worn Gift and 溺ore Like Prayer Than Silence. Rather than distract, these shorter tracks only go to serve the greater point that You値l Be Safe Foreversounds like it dropped straight out of Locust痴 peak years. Listening to a song like 泥o Not Fear where Restivo says blankly, 泥o not fear Come inside and join me It makes everything so peaceful You値l be safe forever, it痴 not hard to recall an ASMR video or how cheesy techno-futurism was in the mid-90s. This is appropriate accompaniment in its outwardly soothing sounds masking a greater anxiety, music for a Windows 95 mindset. Even Van Hoen admits that it sounds like music from the 90s, which aligns tidily with the mess James Ferraro has left in the wake of Far Side Virtual.

What I like more about Van Hoen痴 take than Ferraro痴 (or any of his ilk) is that he痴 not appropriating the era, he痴 simply channeling it with the same conviction he did when it was happening. This sounds both dated and not it痴 up to the listener how they want (or are able) to hear it. You値l Be Safe Foreveris a wormhole backward in time. It痴 also a timeless reminder of how valuable both Mark Van Hoen and WFMU are to the contemporary music landscape.

By Patrick Masterson

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