ALBUM REVIEW: FELIX DA HOUSECAT - KITTENZ AND THEE GLITZ
If you ever have an opportunity to see this legend live, make sure it’s one you don’t pass up. Felix Da Housecat has been playing his stellar brand of the always groovy Chicago House since nearly as long as the genre has been alive. To old school heads Mr. Da Housecat is as essential as absolutely anybody. Though, to the younger generation, we fear that the opportunity to see his sets (which are few and far between-- at say Hard Festival or Coachella) may be passed up in favor of acts like Will Clarke, Motez or (god forbid) trap. (No hate to those artists and apologies for singling them out, they’re just popular right now and popular artists are easy targets.)
DON’T MISS THIS MAN.
HE IS THE HOUSE GOD, THE HOUSE LEGEND, THE HOUSE CAT.
Thus, we’d like to use our platform and take this opportunity for the greater good. It is our honor here at We Are: The Guard to be able to highlight one of our favorite albums of our time: Felix Da Housecat’s 2001 masterpiece, Kittenz and Thee Glitz.
Thanks for trusting us, thanks for listening.
This album is a vibe.
Sure, it’s got its singles and hits and jams just like any other release, but it moves through them all so seamlessly that by the time you’re three-quarters of the way through, with your head-spinning from the house, electro, skits, vogue, and weirdness, you’ll have absolutely no idea what the hell just happened to your last forty minutes.
When the album starts off with a track like “Harlot” and all it’s electro madness, heavy synths banging through, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride. But not so fast the album says following that up with “Walk With Me,” and “Pray for a Star,” slowing it down so you're able to take a moment to mellow out. These feel like the kind of tracks you hear on the beaches of Ibiza during the worst (or best) comedown of your life. This album is a marathon, not a short-distance race and we should all be grateful for these groovy breathers.
Gotta have love for the interstitials. Felix Da Housecat uses skits and bits like the best hip-hop records of a time. “Voicemail” has Miss Kittin leaving a voicemail for Felix talking about working together sometime-- likely the impetus for the whole album, and “Thee Enter View“ has Felix and Tommie Sunshine bullshitting an interview outside of the studio. The album never lets you get stagnant, throwing new ideas at you every time you think you have a handle on it.
AND THEN THERE’S THE SINGLE.
“Silver Screen (Shower Scene)” is one of the most iconic jams of the past two decades. While it never hit the highs that “Kernkraft 400” or “Sandstorm” were able to, playing at every single sports game until the end of time or whatever, it’s got it’s own unique kind of staying power. This song is still able to whip crowds into a frenzy, and has managed to remain a mainstay seventeen years later in many DJ’s sets. I just heard this whipped out (or was it in a mix? hmmm) last month and it BANGED just as hard as it would have when it first came out. Like Green Velvet says… “My mama's like...son...today's your birthday and you're getting older. Don't you think it's time for u to get a real job? I'm like...ma...the percolator is still selling.”
Other highlights include “Madame Hollywood,” a minimalistic vogue of Miss Kittin’s vocals, and “Control Freq” with the best drums on the album, sounding properly live-- so rare for any electronic recording before 2012-- and nearly taking the album off into a proper techno direction. And finally the album starts it’s epic send-off with “Glitz Rock,” maybe the most perfect balance between Daft Punk’s French Electro and Kraftwerk’s Krautronica that will ever be committed to vinyl.
Felix didn’t make this album alone. No, No. Not by any means. This is a major group effort, featuring production assistance from “Thee Glitz,” a crew made up of a number of absolute icons. Tommie Sunshine, Dave the Hustler, Harrison Crump, Junior Sanchez, Junior Jack and Melistar all hop on the album at various times to make this project feel like a well-rounded braintrust of brilliance. “Kittenz and Thee GliTz” heavily features the indominatably sultry voice of french producer/singer/songwriter/DJ Miss Kittin. She adds so much specificity and brilliant narrowing in scope to these already amazing tunes, really tying this sucker together nice with a bow. In early 2000’s full-length electronic dance music albums were few and far between and those that existed needed to have some cohesion-- otherwise what was the point?--just make a couple white labels and call it a day. This isn’t just the collection of 18 Calvin Harris songs, no this is peak art. This is some of dance music’s most important artists coming together to craft something unique, special and wayyyyy ahead of its time.
I mean hell, we’re still talking about this sucker seventeen years later. Not so bad, huh?
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.