DJ Hell Hits Highwater

DJ Hell Hits Highwater
Trends wax and wane but talent endures - and if you're a cynical bastard who doubts that feel-good aphorism, than look no further than DJ Hell. The 47-year-old German electronic music impresario has reached an artistic peak 30 years into his music career with Teufelswerk.

Translated as "Devil's Work," Hell's fourth album arrives nearly a decade after his label International DeeJay Gigolo popularized the short-lived (but surprisingly still influential) electroclash phenomenon - then stood strong in the face of a vehement backlash. "Everybody knows who was the real creator of this movement and who released the real stuff. And that was Gigolo," he says proudly.

Having lived through numerous music cycles, the DJ also known as Helmut Geier simply ignored the uproar and just kept playing big rooms across Europe, releasing electro records on his cult label, remixing club singles and working on what would become his late-career opus. This double-disc concept album includes collaboration with producers Peter Kruder (of "...and Dorfmeister") and Anthony Rother as well as vocalists like Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry and P Diddy, the latter of whom spends his track angrily (and awesomely) freestyling about the importance of extended-mix singles.

Though the dancier "Night" side is rooted in Hell's Teutonic take on Detroit techno and Chicago house, the "Day" disc pulls its influence from German's early electronic acts like Can, Neu! and, of course, Kraftwerk. "I had touched the '80s decade from A to Z. So why not go back to the '70s and bring it into the future?"