pH10

pH10 in: Helmutvision (Helmutplex Records)

The inimitable Recone Helmut, who put his stamp on Denver music via his current combo and its predecessor, LD-50, is planning at least a temporary return to these climes following an extended stretch in New York City. He and new partner SyBO expect to arrive in early 2005 and stay for about a year -- "just long enough to climb to the top of your electronic scene," he sort-of jokes via e-mail. If everything goes as anticipated, the city's music scene will be all the richer for Recone's arrival. As demonstrated by Helmutvision, pH10's latest full-length (available this week at Wax Trax and other local stores), his skills remain sharper than ever.

Several of the platter's best tracks serve as musical beds on which dance beats and hip-hop do the grind. Take "Needless to Say," a propulsive effort that pits the speedy syllables of MC Pete Miser against spare drum-and-bass rhythms accented by what sounds like a synthetic Jew's harp. Other cuts, including "Find Strength" and "Helmut Theme," deploy time-tested mixological conceits, like the use of non-sequitur speech samples, to alternately amusing and arresting ends. The same is true of "The Red Arrow," an audio-only Z-movie of a tune that's as overtly silly as it is compulsively grooveable.

As for the swooping, zooming "T.P.C.," it was cut live to DAT during a 2002 gig at the Rhinecliff Hotel, located in the Hudson River Valley, yet sounds just as accomplished as the studio fare that surrounds it. With luck, such captivating noises may soon be coming to venues much closer to home.

 
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