DJ Hell
Misch Masch Vol. 3
Fine
2006
B-



there was a moment in 2002 when things were very much up for grabs. Kompakt was still waiting for the minimal scene to rise to prominence, Get Physical was putting out its first platters, and electroclash was dying on the vine. In that period, DJ Hell released a mix entitled Electronicbody-Housemusic, which for many signaled two ways out. It seems most people didn’t get past the first disc. And who could blame them? Full of artists at the beginning of their rise (Justus Köhncke, the Juan Maclean, Metro Area to name a few), the house disc showed both Kompakt and Get Physical the blueprint for success. That other disc, however, was the one quickly latched onto by listeners hoping for a darker future: Hell’s EBM mix was a unrelenting tease. Could it be? Quantities of quality of EBM to come?

Not so much, but Hell’s newest mix (his first commercially available one since Electronicbody-Housemusic) luckily showcases an artist equally unwilling to go the easy route. Instead of merely standing still along with the host of other lackluster mixes released this year, Hell moves between genres smartly, encompassing techno, electro, a smattering of that ever-popular electrohouse, and even some sped-up disco. Hell’s mix is a rather seamless one, despite the sometimes disparate genres that meld into one another, Hell’s obviously gone to the Steve Bug School of DJing (first rule: never make them think you’re mixing). And, like any smart DJ, he allows for a few peaks along the way—rather than one huge release at the end.

The set’s second disc, like the series’ previous entrants, features Hell’s remix work. Of particular note, again, are the diversity of Hell’s choices, with new (Justice vs. Simian, Chelonis R. Jones) as well as old (Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys) tracks included. Hell’s remixing work is not as restrained as the mixing from the previous disc: “I’ve Seen That Face Before” could do with fewer elements buzzing around, while “Deer in the Headlights” and “Never Be Alone” are similarly robbed of much of their original power. It’s when Hell works with fewer elements that he’s at his best: Laurent Garnier’s “Hoe” is transformed into a sleek, then wobbly, groove and Trost’s “In Diesem Raum” utilizes Liz Fraser-esque vocals to stunning effect amid rotating gears, whirrs, and a frightening drone. If anything, it points the way forward for a full-fledged EBM revival. Well, one can hope. Again.



Reviewed by: Nina Phillips
Reviewed on: 2006-12-14
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