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“This release is not a double CD, but a twin CD format. CD2 is not intended to be played on its own, but is an expansion to normal domestic playback possibilities. As a starting point, CD1 might be played on the main CD system and the second ‘drone’ CD on a ghetto blaster or home computer… maybe from another room. In an ideal world and with a little help from a friend, both CDs should be activated instantaneously, but an offset of +/- 3 or 4 seconds should still produce the anticipated intention. Relative volume level might be 3 to 1; listener feedback on any combinations is gratefully received.”
Is: Mark Van Hoen

The album, Mark Van Hoen’s second for Touch after “The Last Flowers from the Darkness” [TO:31, 1997], features Holli Ashton on lead vocals, and various backing vocalists including Lisa Millet, Tara Patterson (Autocreation), Sarah Peacock (Scala, Seefeel, January) and 4AD artist Vinny Miller. The instrumentation is purely electronic analog synthesizers, edited and manipulated in Digidesigns’ Protools. Mark Van Hoen, who programmed and produced the LP, wanted to invoke some of the spirit of late 70’s British electronic music, combining that sound with his now familiar brand of electronics for which he became known during the 90’s.

The fragility and unpredictability of vocalist Holli Ashton’s personality and vocals, combined with the decayed and warped quality of the sound offer a warmth rarely found in such pure electronic music. Imperfections are the source of that warmth and there are several connections here between the late 70’s (the period which first inspired Mark to make music) and the last few years. Electronic music in the late 70’s was forced to become more inventive because the limitations of the instruments of the time needed the musician to craft each sound by hand, and the instruments often went wrong; out of time and out of tune. These same instruments were used on this album; there are no samplers, guitars or anything else but analogue synthesizers and vocals on this recording. More recently, artists such as Ryoji Ikeda, Pan Sonic, and Hazard have sought to bring out imperfections in digital music, and those influences are here, too. Even the second CD, to be played simultaneously with the first is a ‘misuse’ of technology, yet it makes a beautiful sound.