If the name Rene Hell doesn’t jangle a brain bell, well, that’s probably because the aforementioned moniker of Jeff Witscher is secretly an allusion to his proximal upbringing with Beelzebub; supposedly outbound publicity is a hard thing to come by when the stairs are made of fire and email is only accessible following a forced reading of 30 articles documenting various celebrity “baby bumps.” That’s my personal vision of hell, anyway.
Less of an exaggeration: Witscher has had a leg in the underground (though not quite that “under”) for at least a few years now, so patrons of a particular abstract electronic scene will know him better than most, even if Porcelain Opera and The Terminal Symphony both justifiably served to enlarge his following a bit. Likewise, a recent split LP with Oneohtrix Point Never offered some unnecessary credence courtesy of affiliation, so certainly, proclamations of Hell’s newest LP Vanilla Call Option being his most “refined to date” don’t strike one as surprising or inappropriate. This is an artist on the incline.
A surface familiarity with Witscher’s work as Rene Hell is enough to suggest a disinclination toward being straightforward, and you can expect something similar with his newest album, which is due September 15 on PAN. Go ahead and presume a classical influence as well, because nothing says musical classicism like… esoteric financial terms? No idea, but travel is reportedly a central theme here. Maybe wandering stock brokers are deserving of a musical tribute…
Vanilla Call Option tracklisting: