In Helmut-Vision


ot a lot of buzz out there for the drum’n’bass these days, I know; but if buzz is all you’re after, then go take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself how things got so bad. While you do that, I’ll be out here dancing to this disc, and probably stealing your girlfriend and/or boyfriend. Because this is some funky stuff, and no matter what kind of notions of cool you subscribe to, you need some funk in your life.

Recone Helmut is the nutjob behind PH10. On his last record, Quarks and Gluons, he alternated being fun and frantic with boring and “classy” downtempo tracks. Thankfully, he decided to abandon the latter and plight his troth to the former. He’s through being cool. This is always a great move. Cool people can’t be bothered to shake an ass. They’re always strumming and crooning, kind of like the dorm folksinger in Animal House...and Recone Helmut wants to be John Blutarsky.

Recone made some good moves here. He took on a rapper named Pete Miser, who rocks like he’s igneous whenever he shows up. It’s pretty rare for a d’n’b rapper to have good quotable lines, but Pete Miser gets off a few good ones. My favorite is probably the one about how he’ll get your girl breakin’ up with you like service on a free phone—but he also adds a political dimension with delicious cheap shots like “Dirty, like George Bush campaign tactics.” He also brings a touch of multiculturalism to the form: “Half white, half Chinese, now stop askin’.” (Memo to self: try to find a copy of his record Radio Free Brooklyn.)

But it’s not all about Pete Miser either. The slowing down of d’n’b marked its decline as the Flavor Of The Month, so Recone bumps things back up into stompy dance fun. “Red Arrow (Punk as Fuck Mix)” is not exactly as punk as fuck, but it is fun and boisterous, and would be a great Bad-Company-UK-ish dance track if it didn’t keep grinding to a halt and then re-starting. (Maybe that’s the punk part, I don’t know.) “2600 Funkus” could be a Roni Size homage, with its acoustic bass sample and its refusal to fear a little repetition if it’s in the service of a greater cause. And the live version of “T.P.C.” (which doesn’t really sound all that live to me) shows how this group might function in a live context, big fat beats and slithery little beats and some chords that sound like Godzilla farts, all wrapped around weird vocal samples about how the phone company is psychotic. (Is this from The President’s Analyst?)

Helmut has figured out how to use vocal samples as a means rather than as an end. This is punched up in “Helmut Theme,” which uses a bunch of great samples from Spaceballs; frankly, anyone who samples Spaceballs is always going to get high marks from me, but this track is just fun and zippy and cute, not “cool” in the least but it’ll get the party started.

I wish there weren’t little trivial skit-like tracks breaking up the flow, and I wish that more effort went into making sure that the instrumental stuff was as vital and fresh as the rap stuff. But overall I heartily approve this uncool slab of metal, because the only real coolness comes from moving el culo, and this album does the trick. Onward and upward, Recone, you’re on the right track.

Reviewed by: Matt Cibula

Reviewed on: 2005-02-01

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Posted 02/01/2005 - 01:48:09 PM by recone:
 Hello from Helmutplex, Ahh! Yes! Matt tells it like it is. I just stumbled on this review after noticing a lot of hits on the pH10 site coming from the Stylus site. I'm glad you found some time to check out the new disk. It's amazing how well you picked up on the switch in overall sound and direction from Quarks to Helmutvision. We've made a lot of changes since the last record and it's nice to know peeps can hear the difference. The punk mix is, in fact, named in part because of its start/stop arrangement. T.P.C. doesn’t necessarily sound live because it was recorded directly to DAT from the mixing board at a show in upstate New York. There were no mics in the room so.. no crowd or ambient noise. And yup, those samples ARE from President’s Analyst! Thanks for the kind words and we'll try to make the music more VITAL and FRESH next time :-). Recone Helmut Helmutplex Industries / pH10
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