sat 15/05/2021

CD: DJ Hell - Zukunftsmusik | reviews, news & interviews

CD: DJ Hell - Zukunftsmusik

CD: DJ Hell - Zukunftsmusik

Stunning electronic masterpiece from Bavarian techno don

Helmut Geir has been around the block multiple times but, like an electro-sonic Batman, always pops up just when he’s needed. Never much moved by fads, the Bavarian DJ-producer has always kept a foot in pre-house music styles, notably punk, Eighties synth-pop and Seventies electronica. His new album, only his fifth in a 25 year recording career, is, without doubt, his meisterwerk. Titled after the German for “Music of the Future”, a Wagnerian term, it’s actually retro-futurist in tone, yet so startlingly original and ambitious it posits directions for not only electronic music, but pop, rock, and anyone else listening.

If Kraftwerk were still in the business of creating music rather than laurel-resting, this might be where they'd choose to wander. Certainly “Car Car Car”, with its tick-tocking rhythm owes them a direct debt. “A car is a car/It drives you near or far/It transports us to all kinds of places,” run the heavily Vocodered lyrics. But that’s just the beginning of this tour de force. Two tunes later we hit “Army of Strangers” which comes on – convincingly - like an update of some offcut from one of Bowie’s Berlin albums. Then, later, “K House” appears to robot-channelling a film theme trapped in John Barry’s brainstem.

And what of the vocal sample-delic psychedelic Voodoo madness of “High Priestess of Hell”? Or the sitar techno with Albert Ayler-esque punk-bebop sax attack that is “Guede”? Or the ten minute bonus track, “Mantra”, which mutates the Buddhist “Om” into hypno-techno? Or "With u", a perfectly pared back electro-pop nugget featuring, of all people, The Stereo MCs? It’s an album that doesn’t quit for its 50 minutes-ish length, whether sleazing it up on the outright gay club whopper “I Want You” or recalling Bernard Herrmann’s “Taxi Driver” soundtrack on the slow, muzzy “2 Die 2 Sleep”.

Zukunftsmusik is utterly addictive. It does what a truly great album should: it astounds.

Overleaf: Watch the Video for "Car Car Car" by DJ Hell

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