Record Review - 1 January 16 2002

To those not aware of the history of Felix Da Housecat (aka Aphrohead, Thee Maddkatt Courtship or just Felix Stallings Jr.), it would appear that Felix's most recent album, Kittenz and Thee Glitz, is perfectly poised to hitch a ride on the latest electro revival. Kittenz and Thee Glitz mixes lush synth-pop and effectively sterile minimalism. But the truth of the matter is, Felix has been leading house music's traveling salvation show for almost 15 years, and Kittenz and Thee Glitz is cutting-edge retro-futurism — house as we knew it.

Felix first pumped out an '80s-influenced album with 1999's import-only I Know Electrikboy, released as the Maddkatt Courtship III. A loose concept album about a dark dance DJ who brought sounds from the past to save the future, Electrikboy preceded the current Electroclash craze by over a year and saw Felix exploring the meeting of hi-NRG and Chicago house where Phuture, the Pet Shop Boys and Prince play. Now he's even let Kraftwerk, New Order and ESG join the game — which is to remind people that Daft Punk are imitators, not originators.

Kittenz and Thee Glitz — named after fashionably aloof French provocateur Miss Kittin, the first of the project's six collaborators — is Felix's first album to bask in what has been wrought. Songs like "Happy Hour" and "Glitz Rock," with their leaden thump and lusty bass, could sit comfortably on the dance floor next to Ladytron — that is, if Gary Numan, OMD and Human League's dance cards were full. Felix fills the space between house and techno with Moroder disco and acidic 808-stomps, and soon it's hard to tell if it's '81, '91 or 2001. But it always feels like it's the right time for Felix's latest, which is as tasty as spilled milk to kittenz.

Felix Da Housecat spins at eleven50 Fri., Jan. 18.??