DJ Hell’s fifth studio album, his first since 2009’s ‘Teufelswerk’, is a testing experience. Testing because it takes a while for it to break out into outright dancefloor action, but once you’re OK with the idea of this, you can enjoy it for the tension-filled, evocative blockbuster that it is. ‘Zukunftsmusik’ is less an album more a soundtrack to an unknown film, and as the slower first few tracks unfold it paints dark, nocturnal scenes with a variety of dimly coloured brushes. The brooding rhythms bring a little jazz to the table, and the warped dialogue is compelling, especially in the separation of the vocals powering ‘Wir Reiten Durch Die Nach’. Because of the tension built up it is a relief when the tempo finally quickens for ‘Guede’ and the aggressive ‘I Want You’, but the importance of colour to this album is illustrated by the sonorous saxophones of ‘2 Die 2 Sleep’. This album is DJ Hell’s thoughts on the uncertain world and its ‘fearful future’, and there is a big dose of paranoia running throughout that shows just how he feels about these things. It means ‘Zukunftsmusik’ – or ‘pie in the sky’, to give it the proper translation – is a powerful album for our times, and one that reminds us of Hell’s relevance to modern electronic music. Compelling stuff.
Ben Hogwood
5 out of 5