Extended Play, the first EP released by the collaboration of Mark Van Hoen (of Black Hearted Brother, Seefeel, Locust, Scala) and Martin Maeers, has proved only to be a tease- the best is still yet to come.
Children of the Stones is the new project from Van Hoen and Maeers, and they will release their upcoming LP, The Stars And The Silence, on March 25th. Joining them on this album are Rachel Davies (Esben & The Witch), Neil Halstead (Slowdive, Black Hearted Brother, Mojave 3, solo) and Al Forrester, plus Angus Finlayson, amongst other friends. For over 30 years, Van Hoen has been creating and innovating the electronic music genre. With the help of vocalist Maeers, it seems that The Stars And The Silence is the next step in the right direction and perhaps just what electronic music needs.
Where the EP, Extended Play, displayed a bleak sadness, The Stars And The Silence explores a lightness that can be found within the shadows of love’s darkness. “Love’s Last Loss” is a subdued and humbled testament of what was and a realization of a love and life that will no longer be. The composition of this first track is somewhat a cut and paste of appropriate sound bits, bleak glitchy transitions, oceanic dream, and mournful raw emotion. “Love’s Last Loss” is an appropriate choice as the start of this album as it introduces the listener to Van Hoens’ use of technology as a catalyst for creativity and expression.
The Stars And The Silence takes an upbeat turn with “Out of Reach.” As one of the more uptempo compositions of the album, this track is reminiscent of songs found on The Postal Service’s 2003 album, Give Up. The title track, “The Stars & The Silence” follows and maintains the form of a mystic lullaby that hypnotizes the listener into a dreamlike state which was first introduced on Extended Play.
“Just Like Coming Down” is a seductively somber track with heavier downtempo wobble. It is easy to immerse oneself into this track and, as the title of the song suggests, allow the vibrations to bring the mind, body, and soul completely down. The eight track on the LP, “Every Word You Say,” has similar vocal and musical composition to the song “Guiding Light,” found on Extended Play. Where as “Guiding Light” is disjointed with low monotonous vocals and overpowering electro beats, “Every Word You Say” is is more united and cohesive.
One of my favorite tracks on this album was the triumphantly dark “Toward the Umbra.” Similar to the undertones conceived in many MUSE songs, the composition of this song sets the tone of go forth and conquer, Musically I found this track to be the most commercial of all the tracks found on The Stars And The Silence.
Overall, The Stars And The Silence was a pleasant surprise. The variation and play of technology keeps this LP interesting and entertaining and I look forward to more releases from this collaboration of artists.
The Stars and The Silence will be released on March 25th.
It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.