Armand Van Helden New York: A Mix Odyssey Review

Released 2004.  

BBC Review

After a couple of below par albums, Armand Van Helden returns with a mix CD of...

Jack Smith 2004

After a couple of below par albums, Armand returns with a mix CD of considerable substance and varying musical depths. His plan was to create a typical slice of New York nightlife, where a kaleidoscope of sounds clashes with one common theme - to move the crowd.

To be fair, he more than achieves it, and with some room to spare. If eclecticism is you thang, then it doesn't come more diverse than A New York Mix Odyssey that's book ended by Blondie's electric riffs on "Call Me" and the Monsters of Rock thrashing guitars of peroxide rockers Yes, with their Kerrang psalm to solitude, "Owner Of A Lonely Heart".

From the electronic pop synths of Soft Cell ("Tainted Love") and Yazoo ("Don't Go"), to the contemporary angst punk-funk sounds of Klonhertz, Felix Da Housecat and Aloud, this collection mixes and matches the past twenty years seamlessly for today's more esoteric dancefloors; it's amazing what can be achieved in Pro-Tools with a little patients.

No Van Helden set would be complete without a fair helping of his own productions and/or remixes. Here it's just the former with a trio of new tracks, including the recent top 40 hit "Hear My Name" featuring Spalding Rockwell. It's likely that at least one of remaining tracks will also be elevated to single status via his recent pact with Norman Cook's label. "My My My", which samples Gary Wright's influential "Dreamweaver" and oozes gospel reference with a French disco-undertone the most likely of the pair. The effervescent "Let Me Lead You", featuring La Rok, remains true to his Freestyle roots, and a little too-dated sounding alongside Company B's similarly styled "Fascinated".

Elsewhere this is all the stronger for the clever, and oh-so-true-ode to anyone and everyone that wants to be a DJ on Heavy Rock's "(I Just Want To Be A) Drummer" and the still essential filtered mash up of AB/DC (the nom de plume of Arthur Baker and Dave Clarke) with the two-year old "This Feelin'".

By refusing to adhere to any one musical style, AVH has become one of the most misunderstood artists the dance generation. But it's clear to see where his real passion likes - rock with a penchant for house. This is Armand's world and we are mere tourists!

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