Sven Väth ‎– Harlequin - The Beauty And The Beast

Warner Bros. Records ‎– 9 43543-2, Eye Q Records ‎– 9 43543-2
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Published by Moonquake BMG, administered by WB Music Corp. / BMG Songs (ASCAP) / Bernd Resis M.V.

Original versions available on the Warner Bros. album The Harlequin - The Robot And The Ballet-Dancer, available on cassette and compact disc (4-2/45818).

©℗ 1994 WEA Music. Made in U.S.A.

Issued in a FLP case.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 0 9362-43543-2 1
  • Barcode (Scanned): 093624354321
  • Matrix / Runout: [Specialty Records Corporation logo] 1 43543-2 SRC##01
  • Matrix / Runout (Stamped): M1S1

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March 26, 2010
When I was a kid, some thirteen years old, MTV's Partyzone was probably the biggest influence on my music preferences. Usually on Saturday mornings I watched it on tape since it was aired very late Friday night. And one night Partyzone had played 'Harlequin' by Sven Väth and I must admit it had an instant impact on me. The video itself was a bit creepy but fascinating with its 90s psychedelic animations but that main thing was the music. The song itself is something that I would categorize as proto trance or then just European techno but the point is not to pigeonhole this. Straight forward Teutonic rhythm, pumping bass and trancey riffs sound very 90s but in its own way timeless. But what happened way over a decade ago was that I forgot this masterpiece until a couple of years ago this single came across and I instantly decided obtain it.

What we have here is eight remixes. I knew right from the beginning that nothing could beat the original and, yes, I was right. The least expectations were on the Murk mixes but they aren't that bad if you consider that they are clearly designed to the bigger main room floors. The vocals don't fit well but the massive house rhythm is quite irresistible. Four mixes is too much and the Bonus Beats is probably my pick of the bunch. The Underworld remix here is quite similar to Darren Emerson's remix of 'Te Quiero' by 108 Grand. A different Underworld remix is available, for example, on Sven's remix album 'Touch Themes Of... Harlequin / Robot / Ballet-Dancer' and the one featured on ' Touch Themes Of...' is better. The biggest letdown was the FEOS remix which is just utterly boring, unimaginative, just a percussive rhythm with elements from the original here and there. CJ Bolland and Total Eclipse both deliver effective remixes, Mr. Bolland being very hard and fast while Total Eclipse being all trancey and euphoric.

So, released some sixteen years ago what do I think of 'Harlequin' now? It's just absolutely amazing! Timeless piece of European techno and easily my favourite of all Sven's productions. Indeed, they don't make music like this anymore. The only funny thing is that this song really doesn't feel the same without the video and even occasionally I feel that the Single Edit sound better that the full Club Mix. Oh, the memories...


June 2, 2008

This American release contains no less than four Murk remixes, two more than the Warner vinyl release. The Murk mixes were hardly, if at all available on all the other worldwide formats of the single, including promos. This single then, presents most of the remixes available worldwide, but with the addition of a further two Murk remixes unknown elsewhere.

It seems inconsistant that Marck Michel goes uncredited on this release when the Murk boys usually credit him for their other work with him? 'Murk Boys Mix' very loosly sticks to the original, but is a much more tribal house affair, with samples from Sven and & Marck Michel thrown in. Oscar G's 'Deep Down Dub mix' (not found elsewhere): Marck Michel really kicks this mix straight from the off with a soulful garage groove, almost a full song, and along the lines of the Kumba and Tribal releases, but with Oscar doing his hard edged dub vibe of the mid '90's underneath the multi-layered vocals. 'Main Murk Mix' (not found elsewhere) was obviously intended as their showcase remix for the single. It has an air of 'Bugged Out' and those 'Vapo Rub' dubs of Oscar's and is more of a proper song, again similar in style to some Kumba releases. It has mutated so far from the original, excepting a very sparing use of the sample of Sven saying 'beauty and the beast'. 'Bonus Beast' Murk's final mix for this single is a thumping tribal groove, great for the dancefloor. Although it is only 3 and a half minutes long, is an interesting counterpoint to Sven's single version and, interestingly, starts out from their vision and move nearer to his. Being the last track it is a great conclusion to an epic series of mixes.

Sven's mixes are solid, well produced early-mid '90's Teutonic Techno, with just a tinge of early Trance. Tropical samples and analogue bass and bleeps in a Euro-fied Techno setting. Underworld's remix is typipically fast paced and finely produced, and aimed straight for the dancefloor. Pascal feos mix is fast paced and more stripped down than Sven's, but lacks sonic depth and has a hectic Euro flavour. Cj Boland's mix is markedly faster than the others, verging on Hardcore & Rave type bpm's, flavours of these genres inform the sound although it is really just fast Techno. The Total Eclipse mix takes a similar route to Cj Boland, but leans more into early Trance territory.