Artist Spotlight: Armand Van Helden
by Philip Sherburne | July 9, 2013
Armand Van Helden and A-Trak are back with a new single under their Duck Sauce alias: "It's You," a bouncy house cut with a heavy undercurrent of doo-wop and roots rock 'n' roll, more in keeping with the duo's giddy "Barbra Streisand" than their last single, the old-school-flavored "Big Bad Wolf." Of course, Van Helden knows a thing or two about back-to-basics house. Long before he veered into electroclash, in the mid-'00s, the Boston producer was perfecting a raw, rugged style that fused jacking house beats with funk and soul samples and a heavy dose of hip-hop swagger. (Talk about old-school: he adopted the alias Old School Junkies way back in 1994.) We've gathered two hours' worth of tracks from the '90s and early '00s that showcase Van Helden at his primordial peak, including his smash "Witch Doktor," the Pal Joey-influenced "The Funk Phenomena," the infectious "Full Moon" (featuring Chicago rapper Common!) and Van Helden's high-energy re-edit of Kenny Dope's "The Bomb." Lace up your shell-toes, and check it out.