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Armand Van Helden
Armand Van Helden is a house music artist and music remixer whose biggest success came from his remixes of the Tori Amos 1996 dance hit "Professional Widow" which reached the top of the UK charts.
Van Helden was born in Boston but travelled around the world as a child spending time in Holland Turkey and Italy as his father was a member of the US Air Force. At the age of 13, he brought a drum machine and started DJing two years later.
He returned to Boston in 1988 but also moonlighted as a DJ in Boston clubs. He quit his legal review job in 1991 to work as a remixer and take up an occupancy at the Loft, Boston's leading nightclub. He released his first official single, a mix of Deep Creed's "Stay on my Mind" through Nervous Records.
He released "Move It To The Left" credited to Sultans of Swing later in 1992 on the Strictly Rhythm label which became a moderate club hit. His first track to make the Billboard dance charts was "Witch Doctor" which made the top 5 in 1994.
The success of "Witch Doctor" led to opportunities to remix acts such as New Order, Deep Forest, Jimmy Somerville, Deee-Lite and Faithless. However, it was the "Professional Widow" remix that established him and became a dance hit around the world as well as the number one hit in the UK. Ironically, van Helden did not receive a penny for this mix as he presented it uncommissioned and thus was not entitled to compensation. However, it led to work remixing the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson and Puff Daddy as well as Daft Punk and the Sneaker Pimps as well as adding to his reputation as one of the world's top house musicians.
"Cha Cha" was another top ten dance hit from his first album "Old School Junkies" released in 1996 with "The Funk Phenomena" also appearing. A greatest hits album appeared the next year followed by a breakbeat album later in 1997. "U Don't Know Me" was a #2 hit on the Billboard dance tracks and a top 20 single on the pop charts in Australia and Canada.
Van Helden released the Killing Puritans album in 2000 which contained the dance hit "Koochy". His single "Why Can't You Spend Some Time" made the top 40 in the UK in 2001. His "New York: A Mix Odyssey" album released in 2004 has so far produced two hits. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_van_Helden [Mar 2005]
Professional Widow (1996) - Tori Amos"Professional Widow" is a song written by American-born singer and songwriter Tori Amos. It was originally a harpsichord-driven punk rock dirge included on her 1996 album Boys For Pele but it got international popularity after being remixed by techno musician Armand van Helden. The remixed single (entitled "The Star Trunk-Funkin' Mix") hit number one on the charts.
The original song, an in-your-face piece supposedly accusing Courtney Love of the murder of her husband, Kurt Cobain, had been edited down to the lines "Honey/Bring it close to my lips" and "It's gotta be big." Even though it has been widely claimed that Tori Amos wrote this song about Courtney Love and her doomed husband, Tori has stated in numerous interviews that this is definitely not true.
The song was then further remixed by artist Mr. Roy, spawning an entirely new CD-single of remixes that again took to the charts. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_Widow [Mar 2005]
Using hard, mad-ass beats, Armand Van Helden quickly became a much-sought after remixer, because of his unique style to turn any song into a thumping hard-house track. He's rarely used a full vocal performance on his remixes - instead, Armand takes only what's necessary, combines it with exciting sirens, intense basslines and solid beats and creates and mind-numbingly rigid track.
"House music for me is about a multicultural mix. Speedgarage is a part of bringin' black folks back into the clubs. That's what it really means to me. And to me that's real important."
-- Armand Van Helden, Grandfather of Speedgarage
Sugar is Sweeter
The Armand Van Helden remix of CJ Bolland's "Sugar is Sweeter" defined the whole [speed garage] sound with that huge breakdown and massive bass-line. He was the first one to really come up with any sort of formula for the music.
Armand, "For me when I first started to make Speedgarage, I didn't term it as Speedgarage. I'd been into drum and bass for years. The scenario was, I'm not gonna try and make drum and bass, I'm gonna take it and put it with house and see what happens. That's all it is, that's the birth of Speedgarage."
One of these people doing it well is New Jersey based producer Todd Edwards. Van Helden cites Edwards as the best of the "other side" of Speedgarage, that of tight beats with an underlying garage influence. This style is most evident on Edwards' single "Dancing for Heaven".
Armand Van Helden - 2 future 4 U[Amazon US]
1. Mother Earth (featuringTekitha of Wu-Tang) 2. The Boogie Monster 3. Business As Usual (Interlude) 4. Psychic Bounty Killaz (featuring DJ Sneak) 5. Rock Da Spot (featuring Mr. Len) 6. U Don't Know Me (featuring Duane Harden) 7. Alienz 8. Summertime (featuring Mi Madre) 9. Yeast (Interlude) 10. Necessary Evil 11. Entra Mi Casa (featuring Mita) 12. Flowerz (featuring Roland Clark)
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