Friday, November 13, 2015
CD Review: Mark Van Hoen "Nightvision" (Saint Marie Records)
[$11.99 // http://www.saintmarierecords.com/products/559068-mark-van-hoen-nightvision]
It doesn't take a lot of musical knowledge or technical terms in your head to have heard music been referred to as created by composers before, but I truly feel as if Mark Van Hoen takes the term "composer" to a whole new level. Every song is, essentially, composed by someone but not every song is composed in this way. It's the difference in food between a master chef and me with my microwave. It's the difference in art between Van Gogh and me with finger paints. You get the idea. I understand that "composer" can refer to just about anyone but it's all I can think of with the music of Mark Van Hoen.
Through spatial tones and electronic strings, "Nightvision" has a quality to it which reminds me of a symphony. It doesn't feel like a combining of instruments to form a song but rather the way you picture a symphony playing. Why does it feel different for an ensemble of fifty playing various instruments over three or four guys playing a drum kit and guitars I'm not sure but it just does and "Nightvision" has that bigger construction feel to it. You can hear a flute and you can hear crashes right up until it sounds like something out of "The Twilight Zone" or "The X-Files" in that eerie sort of way. Static also takes us into that John Carpenter "Halloween" theme type of feel but it mixes in with beats to take it to another level entirely. This is what I'm trying to tell you here: what you think you're hearing based on what you've heard before is on one level but Mark Van Hoen is taking it somewhere uncharted.
Distorted beats make an appearance in this electronic symphony with sort of pianos. Even though some other form of electronic type of vocals might seem to be coming out within these songs, on the eighth track, "I Love To Fly", you will eventually hear spoken word over beats and the such and it just comes out so well. It is what I imagine the modern Beats would sound like if only people cared enough about poetry anymore to decide to go down that path. As the title of the song suggests, the words have a lot to do with flying and at one point even state "The only bad part about flying is having to come back down". That could be interpreted any number of ways, but I'm going to go with the moral high ground here and think of it as the rush an artist might get from performing music live in front of other people who are equally into it.
Calling Mark Van Hoen a "composer" seems like an insult as nearly everyone who makes music can be considered one and he is just in a completely different space than everyone else. So while anyone who makes music can be a composer, technically, I would have to consider Mark Van Hoen a master composer based upon his talents which can be heard in the electronic wonderland known as "Nightvision". I'll leave you to draw the comparisons to this album with the title yourself, in the sense that most people see in the light but the music on here is like being able to see in the dark. I'm not going to get into the whole nocturnal creature idea (is this CD raccoons?) but just keep that title in mind as you experience this work of beauty.