Armand Van Helden
"New York: A Mix Odyssey"
Boy / Southern
Genres: club, electronica, mix
32 West 18 St.
New York NY 10011
Oct 4 - 10 2004
Armand Van Helden is back! And while A Mix Odyssey
only contains three originals, it makes for a pretty solid comeback
album. Helden skillfully blends a whole number of
classics, old and new, in order to create a flowing, club-friendly mix
CD. Eighties (and late seventies) classics like "Call
Me," "Tainted Love," and "Black Betty" are
juxtaposed with newer tracks (Aloud's "Rocky XII," Company
B's "Fascinated") -
the resulting album is a colossal beast, accurately depicting the
diversity of the New York club scene.
First, let's take a look at Van Helden's three new
tracks. "Hear My Name" is the obvious highlight; at
the time of A Mix Odyssey's release, it was already topping UK
charts. Essentially an electronic remix of girl duo Spalding
Rockwell's guitar-and-vocals electro-pop tune, it is slick and
driving, with an irresistibly infectious chorus and a wide array of
funky effects. "My My My" is the second of
Van Helden's own contributions; a bit of a mid-90s throwback, it
boasts a slippy bassline, a slapping beat, and a vocal melody that
wouldn't sound out of place on a 1996 "Club Cutz" CD.
"Let Me Lead You," featuring the vocals of La Rok, is
the last of the originals, and it steps even further back - a synth
melody straight out of the pumpin' eighties is combined with empowered
female vocals and a throbbing rhythm.
Van Helden's selections for the album's other thirteen songs
are perfectly done, and his mixing job - though unspectacular -
is crisp and seamless. Sometimes, however, he seems to let certain
transitions ("Call Me" to "Hear My Name," for
example) go on a bit longer than necessary. Particularly solid
inclusions are Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" (you can
never go wrong), AB/DC's gripping "This Feelin'," and
the final track, Yes' always effective "Owner of a Lonely
New York: A Mix Odyssey is a satisfying return for Armand
Van Helden, who proves he's still one of the best out there.
This will certainly tide fans over until the next full-length.
16 tracks, distributed everywhere, released 2004]