steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Armand Van Helden

"New York: A Mix Odyssey" CD

Tommy Boy / Southern Fried

Genres: club, electronica, mix

Tommy Boy
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 Heart."

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. 


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 tracks, distributed everywhere, released 2004]