Armand Van Helden 2Future4U

House is the game for Armand Van Helden, but he never keeps it the same. He's a master at filter-funk, garage and hardhouse, who occasionally tries his hand at hip-hop (though with results that are often uninteresting). On "2Future4U," he plays with all of his cards, and picks up a few more. He calls in Company Flow's Mr. Len on "Rock Da Spot," and gets him to scratch up some original-sounding rough breaks. "Summertime" has a similar organic vibe, whereas "Psychic Bounty Killaz" showcases a more frenetic side of this popular DJ-producer. In general, alongside characteristic foot-stompers like "Necessary Evil" and "Alienz," Armand's productions are fun but also sonically louder than they need to be. They can also get silly, as they do with the robot vocals on "The Boogie Monster" or the salsa sexplosion on "Entra Mi Casa," featuring vocalist Mita on the Spanglish tease. He's at his best though with "Flowerz" and "U Don't Know Me," when his beats are funky and the vocals are soulfully meaningful. Rather than try to play all the fields, it'd be amazing if he could make an album with the sophisticated feel of those two tracks. (SPG)