Chicago DJ/producer Felix da Housecat paid his dues for years in the underground scene, then exploded like a well-timed volcano with his 2001 release Kittenz and Thee Glitz
, featuring oversexed electro chanteuse Miss Kittin. After starting off as a real house cat at fourteen and hitting Europe at seventeen, at age thirty, Felix finally garnered acclaim from the very jet-setters he mocked. With Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever
, Felix moves away from club cuts, hiring live musicians and exploring song-oriented post-new-wave nuance. Space-echo effects swim around the girl-group vocal stylings on "Rocket Ride," and Tyrone Palmer works with Felix to create the synth-heavy, new-new, romantic shoulder-shuffling "Ready 2 Wear." Felix plays keys on this release, showing off his Prince influence with funky bass lines and sexy lyrics; Devin
's heat melts icy synth into a more soulful mold.
On her first proper solo release, Thee Glitz collaborator Miss Kittin bends ears by shedding the deadpan-diva title. Here she actually sings, albeit cerebrally, on the glitch-pop beaut "Happy Violentine." "Professional Distortion" shakes things up from the get-go with warped guitar and bass drops; the song is Miss Kittin's answer to the demands of success: "I have to pretend to pretend, I have to shine, I have to sign." Kittin cohort the Hacker comes back on "Soundtrack of Now," adding intense atmospherics over Dopplereffekt beats; elsewhere, Kittin gets all ghetto house on "Requiem for a Hit," then hijacks your head with the witty and intriguing "Clone Me." By her own admission, Kittin's career is not about educating the audience. But listen closely: Knowledge drips with each blip.