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Virgo Blaktro and the Movie Disco

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Album Review

Virgo Blaktro & the Movie Disco at once represents a back-to-basics move and a firm step forward. Felix da Housecat's previous album, Devin Dazzle & the Neon Fever, was nearly overstuffed with guest appearances and interlopers, as if Felix had actually followed through on each "Hey, we should do something in the studio" yelped during his globetrotting DJ gigs and VIP party-hopping. This time out, Felix opted to keep it to a handful of collaborators new and old, none of whom are famous indie or dance music figures, so it has the feel of his releases prior to Devin Dazzle. It was, however, executive produced by famous R&B producer Dallas Austin, who — of course — bumped into Felix on Diddy's yacht in St. Tropez. It's possible Austin played a role in the album being Felix's most pop yet, but Felix could've just as easily gone in this direction on his own. The album recalls 1999's I Know Electrikboy (credited to Maddkatt Courtship) for its unselfconscious but tidily controlled shifts from sound to sound. With the exception of "Sweetfrosti," which samples Devo's "Snowball," each track is credited solely to Felix, who wanted to make an album made primarily of songs, as opposed to an album based on tracks with the occasional full-blown song. The songs that contain some combination of melancholy, sadness, and sexiness in an impossibly frolicsome way tend to work best; "Moviedisco," "Monkey Cage," and "I Seem 2B the 1" are as melodically advanced and durable production-wise as anything Felix has done in the past, and the fact that he handles more of the vocals than ever is no hindrance. Surprisingly, the screeching/shuffling "Tweak" is the only instance of Felix indulging his screwball dancefloor persona, unless you count the handful of comparatively tame disco-funk tracks. Not Felix's wildest ride, but it is just as pleasurable as anything else he has done.


Born: 1972 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Second-wave Chicago house impresario Felix da Housecat entered the elite via his recordings (as himself, Thee Maddkatt Courtship, Aphrohead, and Sharkimaxx) as well as his ownership of Radikal Fear Records, one of the premier Chicago labels of the 1990s. An introduction to Chicago legend DJ Pierre during the mid-'80s gave the 15-year-old Felix Stallings, Jr. the kickstart he wanted, and with some help from Pierre, he produced his first single, "Phantasy Girl," in 1987. His parents discouraged his...
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