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Felix da Housecat

Kittenz and Thee Glitz (Emperor Norton)


Sex, drugs and rock and roll -- it's over, declares a laconic Miss Kittin on "Madame Hollywood," the first of three songs she contributes to Kittenz and Thee Glitz. Oddly enough, the album itself revels in rock-star glamour and debauchery; the only thing missing is the rock. Instead, house producer Felix da Housecat has woven an album of future-retro electro, taking the listener back in time. Although his roots are in Chicago, the album itself reeks of New York club life, circa 1983. Heavy on synth and attitude, songs such as "Walk With Me" and "Happy Hour" serve as an elevator ride to the second floor of Danceteria, where the prevalent spirit of sex and drugs defied the onset of AIDS-inspired solemnity. To quote David Byrne, this was "life during wartime," and the only solution seemed to be to keep the party going. More than any other recent album, Kittenz and Thee Glitz captures both the intensity and pathos of this particular moment in time.

Taking his cues from German label International Deejay Gigolo, Felix pays homage to the prehouse sounds of Kraftwerk, Bobby Orlando and Manuel Göttsching without sounding nostalgic. The major difference between him and his German compatriots, though, is an infusion of deep Chicago soul. Felix pays tribute to Trax Records and DJ Ron Hardy on the acid stormers "Control Freeq" (featuring Junior Sanchez) and "Silver Screen Shower Scene" and manages to slip in some sweet house vocals, courtesy of Harrison Crump, on "Pray for a Star" and the chillingly beautiful closer "Runaway Dreamer." Ultimately, the care and expertise put into the album save it from becoming just another trendy '80s underground tribute.

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