Children of The Stones - The Stars and The Silence

by Jim Harris Rating:6.5 Release Date:2014-03-31

Mark Van Hoen, accompanied at times by Neil Halstead, is back with another project of simple yet elegant songs about isolation and solitary flights through a pastoral and lush musical landscape.  Most of the songs are of the electronic slow tempo variety that are rewarding if you take the time to invest listening to them.

In that respect, The Stars and the Silence, is a very pleasant album.  Van Hoen’s voice is a pleasing breathy non-menacing accompaniment to the atmospherics.  The sort of pastoral EDM found on this album is best when accompanied by Neil Halstead adding a bit more as on ‘Ever Within’.  Otherwise, this is one of those albums that need to ‘grow on you,’ as they say.

While the tone and temperament of elegiac electronics is set and held throughout  The Stars and the Silence,  I long for just one of the songs to ease into some at least mid-tempo or heaven forbid, a blast or two  of up tempo crescendo occasionally.  Nope.

Mark Van Hoen keeps it all tight and moody and unrelentingly spacey and slow in the progressions, for the most part.  Lyrically, when he’s not exploring love lost or bridging that gap to emotional sovereignty with his tightly controlled beats and electronics, he appears to be trying to grasp the infinite beyond through odd electronic bells, chimes, and low temperature beats with plenty of musical space in between.

A rewarding musical experience if you enjoy this sort of Electronica as Art form thing, a bit on the dull side, if you don’t.

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