Loden, Valeen Hope [Eat This/Plexiphonic – ETR14CD, 2005]

loden_valeen_hope“Valeen Hope” is the title of Loden’s debut full-length album, which is a split release (OCT 2005) involving one of my absolute favourite labels, namely: Eat This Records. They’ve released this album together with newly established label Plexiphonic that started out as an electronic events’ promoter in Brussels, Belgium. The latest release by Loden on Eat This was the excellent 7-inch entitled “A better landing” and Loden also contributed to the equally excellent JIP2 compilation (both reviewed here at ED.) “Valeen Hope” sees Loden taking a new musical direction incorporating predominately pop/rock associated elements such as guitars and vocals, and is quite far from his earlier releases sound wise. The first intro-like track “(In)” leads onto “Vlugt (and more for you)” and its distorted guitars and vocal elements. The beat is simple and the structure is pop-oriented with a strong melody. “Tenofour” beats and chords have unmistakable references (read BOAC). “A Star on Your Shoulder” is very similar to “Vlugt (and more for you)” in its composition. “Komop” is probably my favourite track of the album, a steady beat fused with Oriental sounding string instrumentation and solid bassline and quite melancholic at that. “Valeen Hope” and “Our Exploding Lives” features acoustic guitar respectively electrically powered one for base and is musically linked to the before mentioned “Vlugt”. “Tears For the Thirsty” has obvious sonically references and could be paired with “Tenofour”. “So this is Reality” more guitars in a track that has some interesting things going on in the beats department. “Sugar Tea” quite fast-paced track fusing guitars and synthetic beats, maybe a bit too much tongue-in-cheek for my personal taste. “Ideal Skies” and “KNKK” end the album in the acoustically based manner as it was started. On “Valeen Hope” Loden’s displaying a different musical side compared to his earlier releases and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, in the end it’s a question of musical tastes and subjectivity and the dominating pop/rock associated elements are really quite far from my personal liking. Nevertheless it’s still a well-produced and well-packaged album and as an added bonus there’s a video to “Tenofour” included on the CD made by Ewo (who also accidentally happens to be Plexiphonic’s label manager). Finally you may wonder why it’s taken close to four months for this release to be written about. The reason is simply that the first copy “got lost” in the progress of being delivered to the 59° latitude by the various national postal services.