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DJ Hell - electronicbody-housemusic (React)

DJ Hell is the man behind the International Deejay Giggolos Records and the man credited with kicking off the electroclash scene. But, he's publicly voiced his annoyance at the way that scene has developed and this compilation is clearly his own reaction to it. Rather than playing it safe and releasing a collection mainly based on his own label's releases as might be expected, he has, instead, decided to break all the so-called rules of the dance scene, reaching into long forgotten (at least within the dance scene) styles to shake up genre divisions and narrow interpretations of music.

CD1 is a relatively safe collection, titled "electronic house", it concentrates on a variety of modern sounds in what could loosely be called the electro, techno and house styles. Kicking off with the subversive techno sound of Underground Resistance, this covers the gamut of modern dance styles, with people like The Juan McLean, John Thomas, Derrick L. Carter, Pantytec, Bobby Konders featuring Massive Sounds, Recloose, Mount Sims, the fabulous vocal from Mark Irwin with Perspects, and more contributing to a varied and funky mix.

But it's CD2 that's really the groundbreaker, titled "ebm" and not lying, Hell reaches back to the '80s scene for sounds generally confined to Goth/industrial clubs these days and brings out some absolute classics. Two tracks each for the biggest names of the Electronic Body Music scene, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, with some tracks from lesser known names like Force Legato, Bigod 20 and Force Dimension, mixed in with some of the current EBM revivalists, DJ Rock, Terence Fixmer and David Carretta, who put a modern sheen on the thumping bass-heavy sound of EBM. Green Velvet, most recently noted for his tongue-in-cheek electroclash piece 'La la land', this time goes all EBM with 'Stranj', which Hell mixes with Nitzer Ebb's 'Join the chant' at the start and Front 242's 'Masterhit' at the end. Hell doesn't simply stick to the EBM sound though, including the Throbbing Gristle-influenced industrial sound of Liaisons Dangereuses' 'Avant-apès Mars' and the post-industrial electronic experimentation of Chris and Cosey (ex-TG) with 'Love cuts'.

There is also another level of playfulness in the sounds, with some well chosen cover versions exposing further influences, with Playgroups covering Depeche Mode's 'Behind the Wheel', Jay Harker reinterpreting the Bauhaus Goth classic, 'Bela Lugosi's Dead', in an electro style and El Loco reworking the Amnesia nu-beat classic, 'Ibiza', all playing up the connections between modern dance music and the styles that helped form it. This is a great compilation on so many levels, guaranteed to introduce dance fans to music they're unlikely to have heard before and likely to do the same for EBM fans as well and, for the latter, it's an opportunity to hear some classic cuts mixed together by a great DJ in a way that hasn't been done before. Let's hope DJ Hell returns to this idea and treats us to more eclectic and rule-breaking compilations in the near future.

Donnacha DeLong

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