armand van helden

Armand Van Helden is universally regarded as required listening for house music aficionados. And while he never left, AVH is currently experiencing a new life in the public eye along with Fool’s Gold don A-Trak, as one half of your favorite ornithological disco-house duo, Duck Sauce. With the release of their first new track in nearly two years and the (literally) hair-raising new video that accompanies it, it seems to be the perfect time to pay a little respect for some of Armand’s most classic tunes, especially for all the dance fans who might be too young to be familiar with his classic 90’s catalogue (note: to be fair, realistically, I should be included in this as I am 19).  Welcome to this week’s Throwback Thursday.

Rising to prominence in Boston during the early 90’s, Armand Van Helden quickly became the industry’s go-to for the increasingly in-demand dance remix. Catching his biggest break in 1996 with his chart-topping remix of Tori Amos‘ “Professional Window,” Armand Van Helden would go on to release his debut solo album later that year with Old School Junkies: The Album. His sound, based heavily in samples of old-school soul and funk tracks, would develop in the years following to be one of the most emulated sounds in dance music.

1998 saw the release of Armand Van Helden’s 2 Future 4 U, his third full-length album. Considered by most as his essential album, 2 Future 4 U featured “U Don’t Know Me,”  a dangerously funky house track that would top dance charts the world over, even hitting number one on the UK’s pop charts.  Also including “Flowerz,” a soulful disco-happy cut that would achieve similar chart success, 2 Future 4 U solidified Armand Van Helden’s spot as one of America’s house kings of the 90’s, crafting a sound that would define an era for house music.

Though the album would have just finished it’s freshman year of high school, nearly 15 years since it’s release, it still influences countless producers of today. It’s even been said that in addition to a few Daft Punk records, the only dance records in Xavier de Rosnay of Justice‘s record collection are that of Armand Van Helden.

While he may not be putting out solo club hits these days, Armand Van Helden is no less influential than he ever was. Between Duck Sauce and his solo DJ sets around the globe, Armand Van Helden shows no signs of slowing down. Listen to one of the first tracks to set it off, 1996’s “The Funk Phenomena,” plus 2003’s ripping “The Funk Phenomena 2K.” For those of you feeling nostalgic, and for those who never had the pleasure, stream the classic album 2 Future 4 U at the end of this post.

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