Trippy experimental tracks that combine ecstasy and humor.
Though she's been active since the '80s, Van Hoof's own music only started coming out in the last few years, all of it on the Munich label Jahmoni Music. One Place For The First Time is her first album. More than the EPs that came before it, it shows Van Hoof really letting it rip, whipping together 30-odd minutes of demented samples that could have come from the archives of Throbbing Gristle or William Burroughs, layered over sideways rhythms of wildly varying tempos. The vibe is best embodied by the second track, "Respect My Snack Foods." Near the beginning, a woman says: "We can walk you through that difficult, awkward, sweaty moment when you come to take a deep breath and say... I'm sorry." The track goes on to do precisely that, breaking down the process of apology into numbered steps while an 88-BPM groove slithers underneath. "Respect Caged Animals" could be club fodder for the adventurous DJ, with an almost Villalobos-style minimal beat (albeit at 140 BPM) framing a feverish collage of samples, from ambiguous gurgles to women chanting and ululating.
Thanks mostly to their length—they're the only ones over four-and-a-half minutes—those two tracks feel like the album's centrepieces. In a way, though, you sense Marcelle is more at home in the album's shorter tracks, which tend to be more unhinged. Take "There!," a two-and-a-half-minute sketch in which a man snores while children sing "Frère Jacques" over a 260-BPM beat, with the occasional chime of a front-desk bell thrown in for good measure. That's the second in a run of four short ones that finish the album, arriving just after "Dub (Dub)," a track that lives up to its name, basically giving us a dub remix of dub itself, or dub to the power of dub. It's all a bit bonkers, and not for the faint of heart, but there's an ecstasy and humor in this chaos that's hard not to like. "Well… it's another nice mess you've gotten me into," a man intones in the album's final moment. Another nice mess indeed.