Various Artists - GU34 Milan, mixed by Felix Da Housecat
Thu 15th May, 2008 Music Reviewsin
The seminal mix compilation series and record label Global Underground hosts for the very first time one of electronic music’s most audacious auteur Felix Da Housecat, with their latest release and first for 2008 GU: 34 Milan. Inspired by one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Milan is centered on Felix’s love affair with Europe’s fashion capital and is a stunning addition to the finest DJ mix series on the planet. And this double disc mix compilation reaffirms Felix’s stature as a very special breed of DJ.
One of dance music’s finest achievers, Felix has been bashed from pillar to post over his ‘party DJ’ style where his ability to rock dance floors worldwide has been scorned upon by the chin-stroking IDM elitists who would rather see a DJ playing a set to an empty dance-floor that is a seamless, perfectly programmed set displaying the most proficient technical aptitude, rather than a louse behind the decks swilling Tequila from the bottle while destroying the packed dance floor with a set filled with fun & mayhem. This double disc compilation has given Felix the opportunity to spread his wings and fully display the prowess of his musical ability. A regular at Australia’s bigger summer festivals, Felix has too often been restricted to one-hour sets in a crammed festival lineup where there is no time to build a set and instead, floor fillers are required to be played back to back from start to finish to give the artist any true credence. This album has given Felix the opportunity to show to the world what he is truly made of.
Disc one starts with some melodic downtrodden minimal techno that sets the scene nicely and represents what you’d expect to hear in the first hour of a 6 hour Felix Da Housecat liveset. Alex Bau’s Halifaxfunk is the heart starter for the mix and one of the highlights of the album. Chris Liebing delivers some brilliant underground techno and both Sasha and Benny Benassi have new singles featured in the middle of the mix that heads, temporarily, into familiar GU territory with some deep, traditional progressive goodness. Speaking of familiar, Felix brings his mix back to some of his more familiar ground with the slamming electroclash Tweak! But the highlight of the mix comes courtesy of Pig & Dan with Deliverance. This is ‘traditional’ GU progressive house at its absolute finest and is a piece of production of the highest possible ilk.
The second mix on the album is a lot more melodic and better represents the ‘real’ Felix, with more melody and vocal-based tracks. Sally Shapiro’s Hold Me So Tight kicks off the second disc and is a throwback to Felix earlier in the decade. Felix jumps through a number of genres in the mix, all the while staying an arms distance from his beloved electro. And the classic electroclash Felix is best displayed with tracks like Saturn Returns by JoJo De Freq and the Switch remix of Je T’aime by Armand Van Helden. The highlight of the second disc, if not the best track on the entire album, is Blink by John Dahlbäck who once again proves why he is one of the worlds best techno/minimal producers.
The mix hits a purple patch with Blink, followed magnificently by Etienne De Crécy’s Punk and Nightbreed by Charlie Fanclub; which completes a slamming electro hat-trick. This is as ‘Felix’ as you’re going to get on this album. He winds down the mix with a flurry of vocal tracks, before ending the mix graciously with Kris Menace’s Fairlight.
Interestingly, this mix shows both sides of Felix Da Housecat and of the Global Underground series in general. Ever the effervescent entertainer, Felix has managed to stick true to himself while also showing the true magnitude of his musical talent. In doing so he’s continued the reinvention of the GU series that we’ve also seen from the likes of Adam Freeland and Layo & Bushwacka that has helped the series reestablish itself as the world’s premier mix compilation series. GU:34 Milan is not only a must buy for any progressive fans out there, but to the wider dance music community in general, as ‘Da Cat’ has struck back with a masterful blend of minimal, techno, electro, progressive and house music.