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Album Review

You would've made 2004's New York: A Mix Odyssey too if you were a former world-class house DJ who no one had heard from in a while. It was obvious, shameless, and pandering (electroclash, new wave — all the easy marks), but it was also the jam. 2005's N****o is equally shameless, and it gives even more props to the kind of dirty sex where no one knows anyone else's name. The big Mix Odyssey hit single "Hear My Name" is reprised, and Van Helden taps Spalding Rockwell again for the less successful, weird femme-Ministry thump of "Jenny." Evidently Mary Louise Perlman and Nicole Lombardi weren't available for "Come Play with Me" — it features vocals from Misshapes models Créme Blush, instead. But it doesn't really matter who's singing on N****o, from Van Helden himself (as Virgin Killer) to Aussie/New Yorker Jessy Moss, because the album is unblinking in its meaning. This music is about new positions and plunking cowbells, and guitar chords ringing out over insistent house hi-hats. Persistent, too, in the case of the incessantly repetitive "When the Lights Go Down" and "Into Your Eyes." It really feels like Van Helden isn't trying very hard with N****o — any DJ with record-collection savvy and downtown connections might make the same record, and speaking of Ministry's heyday, some of N****o could even be My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. (See "Juicy Juicy.") But like he did with Mix Odyssey, Van Helden makes you forget the music's repetitive shamelessness in favor of getting sweaty in an underlit upstairs club somewhere, or even trying to emulate the activities the songs suggest. If that's the case, you're going to need a stretch limo, unisex lingerie, and a PA system that's all volume and treble.


Born: 1970 in Boston, MA

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Until he began branching out in 1996 with a barrage of album productions and remix classics (several of which were heard by more people than the originals), Armand Van Helden was one of the best-kept secrets in house music, recording for such labels as Strictly Rhythm, Henry St., and Logic. Afterwards, he became one of the top names in dance music altogether. As one in the steady progression of top in-house producers for Strictly Rhythm during the early '90s, Van Helden joined such names as Todd...
Full bio
N****o, Armand Van Helden
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Dance, Music, House, Rock
  • Released: 02 August 2005

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