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Old School Junkies - Armand Van Helden

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Genre: Pop / Artist: Armand Van Helden / Audio CD released 1997-03-24 at Raging Bull

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      27.02.2010 09:40
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      Armand Van Helden's debut album

      "Old School Junkies: The Album" was the 1996 debut for the Boston, Massachusetts DJ and producer. It finds him showing-off a massive range of influence that have gone into his set as he comes to bring this House album with lots of touches of various other styles thrown in to set him apart from others (seen in his remixes for a range of acts before actually going out to do his own stuff).

      1. "The Funk Phenomena"

      He gets the album underway with one of its singles. A Hip House track (fusing Hip Hop and House) we see that here he lays the foundations for his work and indicates the sort of direction we're likely to see on it as he experiments with what he can put over listeners with this bassy joint. It may sound quite repetitive to some at first, but as it picks up and develops you really can't say this as he does a great job at making it stand out.

      **Four Stars**

      2. "Work Me Goddamit"

      The direction of this one is geared directly to those who were into the Disco-House style that was hugely-popular in the early nineties. I personally couldn't find much in it to take away and say that I enjoyed of it as it was just too House-y for me and it brings up connotations of a style of House that I have no interest in and what just sounds far too repetitive to have anything of significance within it.

      **One Star**

      3. "Work Me Goddamit '96"

      A rework of the last one, we see that here we've been given the sort of thing that made it a bit more manageable for me. We find that it takes on the Detroit/Chicago House style here and so it had a bit more of the sort of stuff that I could get down (increasing the bass and having clear injections of Hip Hop), however I still wouldn't say that it was enough to really do much on the album and make me want to get into that sort of thing.

      **Three Stars**

      4. "All Right"

      Sampling Stevie Wonder's "As" (which was covered by George Michael and Mary J. Blige in 1999) at the opening, this one son breaks out in typical mid-nineties House fashion. Although early on I thought that it would be more of the mindless stuff that you really wouldn't ever get down to unless you actually enjoyed this type of music, it wasn't long before the thing grew on me and I was able to appreciate just how well the artist layered his samples until he came up with a complete piece. It's some mellow House that does the job nicely.

      **Four Stars**

      5. "Hey Baby"

      Another that I felt sounded quite typical for the time, it was good to see that on it he seem to open things up a little bit. For this one he manages to shift the direction of the music by having it based in the Disco-y style by making it feel more funky that annoying (as much of that Disco stuff is to me) and as a result he makes for more big beats that keep you involved and ready for more through the thing.

      **Four Stars**

      6. "Mecca Toast"

      Lasting nearly six and a half minutes, we see that on this one we have things turned back towards the sort of stuff that I had more of a difficulty getting into. It's bouncy cut and we get a bit more experimentation from him, but the way it's directed really wasn't in favour of listeners such as myself who really don't feel the monotonous things which don't seem to develop to any degree through the album and stay on one level from beginning to end (aside from a break that comes in long into the track).

      **Two Stars**

      7. "The Funk Phenomena" (Radio)

      8. "Brooklyn Beats"

      After getting a shortened version of the lead track to the album, we see that here we get him pulling out a track that I really didn't have much love for at all. I was getting hopeful through the title in thinking that we could possibly receive something with a bit more Hip Hop in it, but instead we get an all-out New York City House track where he tries his best to represent the city's scene (in a style I couldn't feel at all).

      **One Star**

      9. "Play The World"

      The album comes to a close here as we get the lengthiest of all the joints from the record. Lasting just under eight minutes, on this one we find that we get a nice mix of various different things as he tries to show the capabilities of Electronica and the potential diversity it has within it. It's an experimental one and I felt that it made for a track that you are either going to feel or not, and so it was generally average - neither here nor there.

      **Three Stars**

      In knowledge of just how many different Electronica styles he has worked with over the years, I wasn't quite sure what to expect on this, his first album. I did, however, find something that I could get down to and although there were tracks which simply didn't have any hope in winning me over, the record was generally a good one.

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  • Product Details

    Disc #1 Tracklisting
    1 Funk Phenomena - Old School Junkies 2
    2 Work Me Goddamit
    3 Work Me Goddamit '96
    4 All Right
    5 Hey Rary
    6 Mecca Toast
    7 Funk Phenomena - Old School Junkies 2
    8 Brooklyn Beats
    9 Play the World