Thursday, March 5, 2009

DJ Hell does the Devil's work!

The guy who kicked off the whole electro deal — well I-F and Stuart Price deserve some serious props too — DJ Hell, is back with a new album, which will be released in late April. I’ll be honest I was ready to dismiss it, not because I dislike what Hell does and has done, but because that cold electronic shudder that he trades in is beginning to wear on me. However, that would be a disservice to the man’s talent, taste and reputation. Teufelswerk (Devil’s Handiwork in English) is the name of the record and it’s no tha bad (as they might say on a sunny day in Glasgow).

It’s comprised of two discs, one is devoted to day, one to night and the album features collaborations with Bryan Ferry, Peter Kruder, Billy Ray Martin, P. Diddy, Stefan Robbers and Christian Prommer. The first disc opens with “U Can Dance,” a track that features Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry and displays Hell’s tougher more techno oriented side. Legendary rap producer P. Diddy adds some vocals to “The DJ,” a bumping, techy house track with the bassline from Sandee’s “Notice Me” and the rest of this disk features six more tough work outs drawing on Hell’s Detroit techno and Chicago acid house influences.

The second CD gets a little more interesting with Hell moving back to some of his earliest influences, German Kosmiche Musik, space rock or Kraut Rock as it is more commonly known. Here he takes a more ambient and downbeat approach, with some subtle rock touches and melodic synth textures. Overall it sounds like Hell colliding with Lindstrøm, except it’s better than Lindstrøm, has more of a raw edge and retains the inherent psychedelic quality of the music. “The Angst/Angst Pt. 2” is a prime example of this, as is the masterful cover version of Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine” which closes the record and sounds like the British space rockers co-opted into a Daniele Baldelli set. Maybe Lemmy should have been asked to guest on this track.

Perhaps this will the last interesting record of the entire electro era, and who better than its innovator and originator to close it out. You have to excuse my recent prophecies of impending electro denouement, but it has to come to an end at some point or at least take a lesser role as newer (albeit probably retro leaning) music forms take centre stage for a new decade and a new generation. The thing is Hell has been around for so long and has such an encyclopedic grasp of dance music that he may fire the opening shot of that too. In the mean time Teufelswerk is well worth checking out. It drops on April 27th, so keep ears peeled.


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