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N.Y. Muscle


Triple LP version. "'The first days of a European in America are comparable to being born. He himself had known new arrivals who for example had stood on their balcony for days and days and had looked down on the streets like lost sheep. This lonely inactivity might be allowed to a tourist, for someone planning to stay here it means definite demise.' These lines can be found in Franz Kafka's novel fragment America. Kafka himself never set foot on American soil and maybe that's why he managed to create a piece of writing that melts second hand stories and his own imagination into a condensed and exciting portrait of New York. DJ Hell has been to New York. Most likely several times and especially from October 2002 to April 2003, when he produced his new album N.Y. Muscle there. Hell went with the flow of a city whose heartbeat pounds so much faster than Europe's. Work ethics, strength, inspiration, these are the traces that New York left behind on the album. The music however seems Kafka-inspired in the most positive sense: N.Y. Muscle feels like a look through surreal European glasses onto a strange country. It seems nearly logical that the first track, the single 'Keep On Waiting', features a fellow European, Erlend Oye. The Norwegian with the melancholic voice poses a counterpoint to the hard, electronic backdrop with spartan melodies. The tracks video, on the contrary, is pure New York. Larry Tee's glamorous Luxx Club is the Setting, P.Diddy and Princess Superstar have their cameos as well as an amazing cast of supermodels, all fitted out by Donatella Versace. 'Listen to the Hiss' and 'Meet the Heat', two collaborative tracks with proto punk legend Alan Vega (Suicide) paint a different picture entirely. A place without Rudy Giuliani, a Gotham City in the darkest hour comes into existence. Sawtooth Basslines, driving, dirty drums are layered atmospherically on top of each other. The dark despair peaks in 'Let No Man Jack': Hell uses early, rough techno to say goodbye to the omnipresent eighties revival, shows how far out there he really is. A screaming voice. That's how intense sounds. 'The Ambient Song' and first and foremost 'I Regret' loosen the tension at least temporarily. The marvellous Billy Ray Martin who lends her voice to the fluid instrumental to 'I Regret' enchants in a song of deep and beautiful sadness. But Hell wouldn't be one of the most successful Techno DJs worldwide if he wasn't looking for the club immediately after. 'Control' honours its name on every dancefloor, pumps, moves, rocks at will to sweat-drenched exhaustion. The energetic 'Wired' leads N.Y. Muscle to an end, just before, in a final 'Phone Call', the hectic scheduling of studio dates is discussed, only for the voices to drift away in echo and delay. Franz Kafka once again: 'You couldn't hope on commiseration here. Only the fortunates seemed to really enjoy their luck amongst the uncommitted faces that surrounded them.' Hell does not need commiseration. He made New York his own and has produced an exciting and dense portrait of the city. DJ Hell is one of the fortunates."