International Deejay Gigolos

Forget the horrendous hype and reactionary derision, forget 'electroclash' and the mooted '80s revival' - the best course of action is simply to enjoy the music; some of which, believe it or not, is actually rather good. And most of it, it seems, is being unleashed upon us through the commendable enterprise of a cheekily bling Munich label that's perfectly attuned to the gleeful mix of cool irony, bad taste, rampant sex, flashy hedonism, killer synth-lines and, yes, 'the 80s' that has made the world of electronica so much more fun over the past twelve months or so. And if spending exorbitant sums of cash on hard-to-find 12's doesn't hold much appeal for you then fear not, for notorious German party-man DJ Hell is here with a winning selection of 29 tracks - almost three-hours-worth of music - filling-up two discs and cramming-in a greater eclecticism of styles than the idly curious might well expect.

A rundown of the highlights, then; beginning with Disc One's insidiously effective curtain-raiser from Plastique de Reve, who lays down old-school raps over ominous electronic buzz and establishes the last-night-of-your-life fatalistic tone that's made-out in a number of these cuts. Similarly, Vitalic's highly-lauded 'La Rock 01' is an aural rollercoaster of rising-and-falling frequencies to scramble the mind and - if pumped-out at highest volume in a club - possibly the stomach as well. The remix of Divine's 'Native Love', which brings this whole business to a close, is dark and hard and starkly-fashioned; 'death disco' if ever I heard some. But the finest track of this ilk is the haunted isolation conjured by some-time filmmaker Romina Cohn, Argentine by birth but making music that's icily European in nature - 'The Night' is deeply blue laser-beam electro-pop with spine-chilling androgynous vocals that, let me tell you, you won't be forgetting in a hurry.

Pick of the lighter (though far from lesser) bunch are Mt. Sims's 'Rational Behaviour' (juicy 'technosexual' electro-funk akin to Midnite Vultures Beck); the Prince-referencing lo-fi catchiness of Crossover's 'Extensive Care'; and, most pleasingly of all, the forever-fresh dance-pop suss of the Dominatrix's 'Sleeps Tonight', certainly due this timely resurrection nearly ten years since its original release. Mention must also be made of the wonderful Atomizer and their brilliantly bold Bill Drummond-produced 'Hooked On Radiation' with its tongue-in-cheek trigger-happy lyrics that it's safe to say may not please Messrs. Howells and Blunkett.

Hell's Midas touch when it comes to picking the tunes does let him down once or twice - Family 5's forgettable punk misfire grates badly and the Elektrochemie LK mix of Marc Almond's 'Soul On Soul' is a trifle undistinguished - but in the final analysis this is an excellent introduction to some of the planet's lesser-known electro talents. And you can rest easy in the knowledge that it doesn't contain a moment of The Faint - a small mercy, I think, for which we should all be grateful.

© 2003 Peter Millar