- After its modest renaissance last year surrounding the much feted release of DJ Hell's Teufelswerk long player, it seems the International Deejay Gigolo imprint has somehow found a renewed sense of purpose for itself, even though it hasn't really been matched by a string of truly distinctive releases as yet. In a move obviously motivated by the need to escape the tightly knitted community that flourished under the Gigolo banner and therefore find possibly new, less Berlin-centric sounds and attitudes, Hell has turned to Vienna for inspiration, which explains why most of the artists compiled for Gigolo's twelfth annual compilation are from the more peripheral Austrian capital. That idea is best encapsulated by the inclusion of the most famous Viennese of all—Beethoven (!) himself—as the Soulwax brothers re-edit to staggering effect Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven." As ridiculous as the idea looks on paper, it does indicate a genuine sense of fun and adventure that suggests Hell is in a festive mood nowadays.
We should also remind ourselves that the Gigolo main man remains, first and foremost, a techno DJ, and his everlasting A&R talent for unearthing anything classically Detroit and Chicago-inspired is put forward on the rest of this 3-CD, four-hour long compilation. For instance, Snuff Crew's "More Fun," Kikumoto Allstars' self explanatory "House Music," Sei A's enigmatic "My Montage" and the jackin' Tony Lionni remix of Oliver Ton's "Hasta el Fin" are impressively functional in their blending of old-school vibe and contemporary production means. Tracks like the Carl Craig remix of Hell's "U Can Dance," Skwerl's "Liron," Nick Coleman's "This City I Love," Crazy Sonic's "One Way Ticket" and the Chromatic version of Ken Haywakawa's "Trip to Amsterdam" all offer absorbing deep house wanderings that insist on the label versatility. But nothing comes close to Hell's own "The Angst," whose Henrik Schwarz rework is as stellar now as it was 18 months ago. This is not only deep: this is profound house music that is glorious and forward thinking. Needless to say, it is the best thing on here, and probably one of the best Gigolo releases ever. Peter Kruder's "Hard to Find" comes close, though, as it takes the listener on an 11-minute ride that is both Innervisions-esque in its restraint and rousing in its clever use of vaguely Arabian samples and string motifs.
Hell also holds tight to his occasional oddball moments and, somehow, they work on here. David Keno's "Upside Down" and Vinyl Life's "Good Life" can find time to reverence dance music maestros Chic and Kraftwerk with snappy samples without coming across as outmoded, which is hard trick to pull. UHU and Axel Boman, on the other hand, take the compilation towards uncharted territories, the former with a pulsating ambient number ("Faster Speedias") and the latter with a ten-minute long dub ("Azteca") that is surprisingly more akin to musique concrète than, let's say, Miss Kittin.
That said, Gigolo being Gigolo, it also seems hard for Hell to let go of older tics and habits. For instance, the foul-mouthed Fagget Fairys and larger-than-life Hard Ton, as immediate as they both sound, would have been as easily at home on the label at the height of electroclash a decade ago, which makes their "Feed the Horse" and "Forever No More" tracks sound slightly dated. Same judgment can be applied to Hell's own remix of Peaches' "Lose You" or to Minitel Rose's "Better Day Part II": these are electro-house cuts in the most ordinary sense; textured and effective, but they also lack anything truly original to make them remotely stand out. But these are minor flaws compared to an overall immaculate selection.
On the basis of Gigolo 12, it seems Hell the A&R man is torn between the natural desire to cover new grounds and his attachment to what made his label special in the first place. Yet, the very fact he is still single-handedly holding to the reins of a label that might seem to many like it is past its prime and putting even more music out under that banner is definitely asking for attention. Thankfully, it is fully deserved as Gigolo and Hell obviously still have many surprises to offer.
01. David Keno - Upside Down
02. DJ Linus - Are U Ready
03. Walter Murphy - A Fifth of Beethoven (Soulwax Edit)
04. Diskokaine - Hall of Shame (Skatebard mix)
05. Marascia - I Piss U
06. Fagget Fairys - Feed The Horse
07. Snuff Crew - More Fun
08. Psychonauts - Take Control (Naum Gabo remix)
09. Axel Boman - Azteca
10. Oliver Ton - Joint Venture
11. Good Life - Its More Fun To Compute
12. UHU - Faster Speedias
01. Nick Coleman - This City I Love
02. Makossa & Megablast - Soy Como Soy feat. Cleydys Villalon
03. Skwerl - Liron
04. Peaches - Lose You (DJ Hell remix)
05. Peter Kruder - Hard to Find
06. G Man V's Kusserow - News V's Old
07. Ivan Coppola - Hot (Prommer Mix)
08. Sei A - My Montage
09. Herman Schwarz - All Alone
10. Ken Haywakawa - Trip To Amsterdam
01. Oliver Ton feat. Idevet - Hasta el Fin (Tony Lionni remix)
02. Hell feat. Bryan Ferry - U Can Dance (Carl Craig remix)
03. Mugwump - Die Nacht ist Kuhl
04. Lenior&Meriton - The Spirit
05. Kikomoto Allstars - House Music
06. Crazy Sonic - One Way Ticket
07. Hell - The Angst (Henrik Schwarz remix)
08. Anthony Rother - Hot Chocolate
09. Hardton - Forever No More
10. Mintel Rose - Better Day Part II