Having received moderate recognition for his early releases on Nervous Records and AV8, Witch Doktor was Armand’s first release on Strictly Rhythm, and was one of the filthiest house stompers released in the mid 90s.
Kicking off with some African tribal chanting, things pick up a gear around thirty seconds in, as a siren starts to blare just before the beats start pumping. As dance intros go, it’s one of the all time greats, particularly when enjoyed on a massive soundsystem.
Discussing Witch Doktor in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, Van Helden described its origins thus, “I moved from Boston in late ’93 and “Witch Docktor” came out spring of ’94, so I had gotten right to work.
“I was out almost every night – it was club kids era, you know, but I was more on the fringe – and “Witch Doktor” was maybe the third record I did with those big New York clubs in mind. I needed something that could really fill out a place like Limelight, and “Witch Doktor” was the first time I really succeeded with that.”
Close to a quarter century later, it’s lost none of its power. Happy birthday Armand!
[Kudos to lokuazaz for the YouTube upload]