At the beginning of the year two-time Grammy nominated Chicago house music pioneer Felix Da Housecat launched Founders of Filth, a label whose musical manifesto thumbs its nose in the face of rules. Felix has always marched to his own beat, pioneering the electroclash movement to collaborating with dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry on 2015’s Narrative of Thee Blast Illusion.
Founders of Filth Vol. 3, which is Felix’s third EP of the year, finds the iconoclast collaborating once again with fellow Chi-town luminary Jamie Principle and Montreal DJ/producer Clarian (both artists appeared on his debut Vol. 1). Felix channels his electroclash roots in partnership with Clarian on the bawdy “Energy” featuring Agata. The recipe isn’t necessarily new — girl provocatively talking/singing over a grinding electro groove — but it works like a charm. “They Just Want 2 B U” with Clarian and Principle is a synth-based dance-pop delight. It’s built on soft pads, echoed vocals and blippy melodies.
For the EP’s closing track Felix dons his Aphrohead moniker for a funky finale, “Color of Rayy.” The techiest track on the release is hard and driving, featuring Felix’s Prince-like spoken-word vocals over a rollicking musical bed.
Founders of Filth Vol. 3 dovetails Felix’s past with the present and allows him to successfully close out a year of reinvention on a high note.
Chicago house heavyweight and onetime electroclash adventurer Felix da Housecat is sinking his claws into a new album, Narrative of Thee Blast Illusion, which is set for release on July 10 via the No Shame label. Now, that information on its own ought to be enough cause for celebration, especially if you’ve given a listen to the record’s debut single, “Is Everything OK,” which clearly shows Felix’s feline ways to be as impressive as ever. But there’s an additional reason for Felix fans to be excited about the arrival of this album.
Not that he needs any additional assistance to get his musical message across, but there’s a very special guest joining Felix for one of the tracks on Thee Blast Illusion, making for a rather historic collaboration. No less esteemed an artist than Jamaican dub godhead Lee “Scratch” Perry pairs up with the Chicagoan on a track aptly entitled “The Natural.” The tune takes Perry’s way with a big, bottom-heavy, organic dub feel and filters it through Felix’s more modernist aesthetic to create a boundary-bashing new paradigm that’s likely to appeal to fans of both men. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the video for “Is Everything OK?” below.
Wednesday of Miami Music Week launched with what was promoted as a “We’re All Friends! 8 hours and 8 labels Beach Party” featuring A-Trak, Boys Noize, Skrillex, the electro disco-house sounds of Bromance and more. When a promoter and artist manager e-mails you and asks, “Can I really not tempt you to the pool party tomorrow?” and it’s featured poolside at the lovely South Beach Raleigh Hotel, with this lineup, how could you pass. A 45-minute downpour only added to the intensity of the crowd’s passion especially when it was an all-hands-on-deck moment literally as almost all of the featured artists gathered on the stage for a few rounds of tracks.
An impromptu interview with Chicago house great Felix da Housecat gave some insight to his cherished EDM roots and what EDM artist he’s feeling these days as a rising star in the business. Spoiler alert: his response was Boys Noize who minutes later spontaneously appeared at the poolside lounge interview sight where the two proceeded to offer their mutual appreciation for each other’s contribution and influence on the scene.
Concerned about missing the minimal timeslot of the multi-faceted South African duo of Dominic Peters and David Poole (better known as Goldfish), the mad dash across the street to the Gale Hotel rooftop presented a pleasant surprise result. Goldfish’s set was delayed due to the earlier downpour and they were just now setting up for their timeslot. Once settled their creative utilization of an electric up-right bass, saxophone, keyboards, flute, the Roland MC 909 sequencer/synth and vocals created an upbeat, funky, jazz, African-influenced dance music so pleasantly and surprisingly unique. Massive imagery spanning the façade of a nearby midrise projecting the artistic, cult, martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the multi-colored sky from the post-storm setting sun, and the aroma of the jerk chicken and rice available at the rooftop event offered the perfect elements to the outdoor set.
Midweek Miami nightlife was in true form as always during Miami Music Week presenting an eclectic palette of choices from the drum ‘n’ bass of Andy C, Goldie and Ed Rush & Optical at Therapy to the Kyau & Albert and Dennis Sheperd event at Club Euforia. LA’s DJ Kristina Sky, DJ duo Myon & Shane54 and Anjunadeep’s DJ Jaytech were on hand at Euforia to show support, network and mingle with fans. Jaytech was honored to hear Kyau & Albert play his recent smash hit “Stranger” offering a lip-synch rendition from the VIP. Closing time at 4am at Euforia on this particular night was still not an indication that the Miami nightlife was over and that fans were turning in for the night any time soon.
Images by Kathy Vitkus