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This Weekend I’ll Mostly be listening to… Barbarella – The Art of Dance [Sven Vath and Ralf Hildenbeutel] May 14, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Who you may ask?

Barbarella was one of a number of names that Sven Vath, DJ, record producer and musician, has gone under, though in the case of this incarnation it was as part of a duo with Ralf Hildenbeutel. Vath is an interesting character in his own right and worthy of further exploration.

And as Barbarella they released the album The Art of Dance in 1992. With a generous helping of samples from the film of that name it’s sort of a concept album, but then Vath himself is no stranger to same and while I’ve always been quite resistant to the supposed charms of Ms. Fonda, this I like.

My favorite is probably “The Mission” which has a nice crunchy sound with a hint of industrial and more than a trace of an element of what might later be termed EBM – little surprise there, Vath’s trance work is hardly a secret and EBM was always keen to take trance and turn it to it’s own ends. But “Barbarella Butterfly” and “The Space Ship” bubble along nicely as does “My Name is Barbarella”. “The Secret Chamber of Dreams” is a fine track and if some of this feels a little plastic, a little too synthy, well, what of it? There’s something hugely evocative, something none-more 1991, about the piano riff that underpins “Barbarella 2” [unfortunately not available on YouTube]. But then most of the best electronica, whatever it’s sub-genre, has that evocative pull – listen to “My Name Is Barbarella” and you may hear what I mean. Great tracks.

Worth noting that this went out on the Harthouse label which Vath was one of the co-founders of. That would account for the insistent beats that frame the tracks. Though Hildenbeutel is said to have brought the more ambient aspects to these tracks and that’s clearly evident. The beats rarely overwhelm atmospherics but rather both act in tandem.Meanwhile the numbers of remixes from this album is quite remarkable. I’ve added on a Deep Dish version of the eponymous track at the end [and soon This Weekend I’ll… will be dealing with a certain Mr. Morel]. But that’s only one amongst many.

Anyhow, enjoy.

My Name is Barbarella

The Space Ship

Barbarella Butterfly

The Mission

The Secret Chamber of Dreams

Barbarella (Deep Dish)


1. Ramzi Nohra i - May 14, 2011

This sounds good. Hadn’t heard of it before.

I seem to recall Barbarella inspiring a little known five piece from Birmingham as well.


WorldbyStorm - May 14, 2011


I should have added and have now in the text that this dates all the way back from 1992. And yet it doesn’t sound too much of its time.


2. Phil - May 14, 2011

I was interested to hear this; I got into Sven Väth soon after this – at the time of “La Esperanza” – although I have to say I got bored with him a year or two after that. This is good stuff, though. I had “My name is Barbarella” going more or less in the background, but somewhere around the 5:30 mark it really compelled my attention. There’s a tightness & complexity to this stuff that appeals to me a lot.


WorldbyStorm - May 14, 2011

I think that’s a very fair critique. What I really like about this is that no two tracks are the same, the sounds and approaches are very diverse.


3. DB5K - May 15, 2011

[…] This Weekend I'll Mostly be listening to… Barbarella – The Art of … […]


4. Phil - May 22, 2011

Some good stuff here (having finally got round to listening to it all), especially “The Mission”. I listened to most of it while reading the NWOBHM post, which was interesting!


WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2011

The Mission is great, isn’t it? Excellent stuff.

A good counterpoint to the NWOBHM.


5. EamonnCork - May 22, 2011

I am suddenly aware that I have totally dynamited any credibility I might ever have had in the field of music. I can just plead that growing up in rural Sligo in the early eighties was a strange experience.


WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2011

I don’t know about that, but you’ve commented on the wrong post!


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