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Positive Feedback ISSUE 66
march/april 2013


Locust, You'll Be Safe Forever
by Michael Mercer



Locust, the dynamic electric duo of Mark Van Hoen and Louis Sherman brings you through a dazzling, thumping tour de force of electronic music for the future by harnessing their many influences of the past in You'll Be Safe Forever. So while the music can sound a bit like Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, or Artificial Intelligence at times (meaning the compilations, and, possible aliens) it also sounds perfectly fresh. That's not an easy feat. In a world where anybody can record the sound of anything and set it to rhythm with the push of a button, only the ones with soul truly stand out.

The LP threw me off for a second when things get started. "Fall for Me" begins with these swaying, billowing disjointed synth pads; building energy as they swoon in and out, creating a sense of forward motion with minimal musical elements. This allows for a great sense of spaciousness: A theme that continues to the end of the record. All the elements are given room to breathe. This seems to be an endangered art form unfortunately. Producer/artist James Blake is another great example of someone who knows about the power between the notes. All that space in the music helps punctuate all kinds of noisy elements, Earthly and not so Earthly; outer space-like. Synthesized sounds are triggered in lovely variations, laying out a rich soundstage to bask in.

"The Worn Gift" invokes Bladerunner imagery with its distant, hovering synth lines. The mood is somber, contemplative. But, just like the rest of the album (full of dynamic contrasts): After being given a few moments respite I'm met with a massive kick drum and acid house bassline driving "Just Want You" like a pounding club classic. It's music you can't help but move to. It draws it out somehow. At least it does so for me. The greatest attribute of this album is that while varied, the energy is non-stop. Even when the mood is mellowed, there's still an undercurrent of movement. It makes listening to this album addictive.

Top all that off with transistor radio-like noise panning left to right and right to left mixed with creepy voices and all sorts of bangs, tangs, and swooshes. The drums are captured and mixed like a drum-kit laid out in front of you at a club one minute, the next it's like you're the front of house engineer, and then you're standing on the dancefloor! Imagine being close to the stage at an outdoor music festival like Coachella: A live act is playing a boatload of far-out looking drum machines, noise generators, digital delays, tube compressors, things you don't recognize and everything else you can think of. That band is Locust. They hit hard then pull back. They get a little strange, then all new age-y for brief moments (don't get the wrong idea).

These guys are fascinating electronic voyeurs, and I can't wait to hear what they do next. You know when you're in a club or at a show and the dynamic thump of the kick-drum hits you in right your chest. Imagine the timely snap of the high-hats, the velocity of the snare on a big system: Head's bobbin, hands in the air waving.

The vibe builds and you find your groove. Then, all of a sudden the DJ switches things up on you. You're pissed at first, but grow to dig each track he lays down from that moment on. That's like listening to Locust on You'll Be Safe Forever. This LP plays like a musical tribute to electronic music over the last forty years or so. The great thing is, it also carves out it's own sonic signature. Thankfully it's also well-produced! Obviously very highly recommended.