felix da housecat

Album Review: Fabric 59 - Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones' album Don't You Remember The Future was reviewed on BlackPlastic.co.uk two years ago and it felt a bit like drinking Diet Coke when we'd rather go all out and fill our gut with The Real Thing. It's an accusation you could level at a fair number of contemporary artists but it's a fair one - who wants to settle for 'not quite as good as...'?

Jones' Fabric album is a bit of a surprise. Firstly because it isn't the fairly minimal tech I've come to expect from artists associated with Crosstown Rebels, the label Jamie calls home. But even more surprising is that fact that it is the most easy-going, celebratory Fabric albums in ages. But this isn't a thinking person's mix - the track listing is pretty obvious - but it's a great collection of disco and house cuts to soundtrack a party to.

There is a mixture of newer and older records on Fabric 59 but Jamie clearly isn't afraid to be obvious. There was a time when finding a new mix album without Felix Da Housecat on it would be more difficult than with. Despite that Jones drops 'Madame Hollywood', from Felix's defining Kittens and Thee Glitz LP, immediately before plunging into the reverb heavy 'Body Shiver' by Waifs & Strays. Thankfully it has been long enough since Felix mania that it just feels great to hear it again. Similarly Metronomy's mix Sebastien Tellier's 'La Ritournelle, shows up in the mix early on.

Fabric 59 is at its best in the closing third. Crazy P's 'Open For Service' is bonkers disco that feels every bit as classic as it aims to, with the most glamorously over the top chorus I've heard in ages. Holy Ghost's mix of 'Goblin City' by Panthers is the show stealer though. It's another track that has been around for an age but it never seems to have quite as much recognition as it deserves. If you haven't heard it you need to and it is here, at eight-minutes long, in pretty much full form. It melds house and disco like champagne and liquid gold, the inevitable guitar solo peak and subsequent break being one of the best things to feature on any Fabric album.

The pace is kept up through to the end. On Oppenheimer Analysis' 'The Devil's Dancers' Jones drops a track that harks back to times when the future sounded like the future rather than the past (just don't tell anyone it's only six years old). Soho808's 'Get Up Disco' is exactly as it says - a gorgeous loose rhythm and sparkling melody - and the stark 'Fear of Numbers' by Footprintz rounds things out.

Fabric 59 is almost in danger of being undermined - Jamie Jones has played it so obviously that it almost veers into parody, yet the final third of the album is so gorgeous I can't help but celebrate it.

BP x

Fabric 59 mixed by Jamie Jones is out now, available from Amazon.co.uk on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].

Album Review: He Was King - Felix Da Housecat

Long time BP readers will probably be aware of the BlackPlastic love affair with Felix, dating back to his glorious Kittenz and Thee Glitz album. Last album, 2007's Virgo Blaktro & The Movie Disco failed to live up to the expectations set by both Kittenz and its follow up Davin Dazzle and the Neon Fever - fast forward to 2009 and new album He Was King is set to drop in a few weeks following little fanfare.

Part of the fun of an album getting released from one of your favourite artists is in the anticipation. As such it is actually almost disappointing that felix's new album is already here but one thing is clear - He Was King is a return to form following Virgo.

Opener 'We All Wanna Be Prince' splices together lines from Prince records to create a love letter to everyone's favourite purple king of pop and from the off Felix is revisiting the best parts of his own catalogue. Not since Devin Dazzle's glorious 'Ready 2 Wear' has Felix created something as gorgeous as this album's opener.

And whilst the album opens on a pure pop moment there are some dance-floor gems too, recalling the dark 'Strobe' from Virgo and some of Felix's earlier, pre-Kittenz albums. 'Kick Drum', all empty-space, distortion and repetitive vocals, is a dubby love letter to the dancefloor and those girls that get lost on it. More than anything though it is 'Elvi$' that will provide He Was King its lasting dancefloor hit - a tweaking acid epic that would slot right into to many DJs sets to provide a suitable climax... It's long, wonky and just a bit nasty.

The highlights probably come in the form of the pop-couplet formed by 'Do We Move Your World' and 'We'. Not connected except for in their proximity to each other in the album's flow and the fact they both aim for a similar melodic sound, they are the tracks on this album that are most reminiscent of Felix's Kittenz era. 'Do We Move Your World' builds nicely to a hook before blasting off the launch pad whilst 'We' is pure-synthesized joy - sassy and cool, sleazy and honest, it is Felix at his best.

He Was King may not top either Kittenz and Thee Glitz or Devin Dazzle but it certainly comes close to equalling them. There are moments here that easily stand-up with the best on either of those albums, all He Was King lacks is the overriding sense of experimentation those albums boasted.

BP x

He Was King is released on Nettwerk on 24 August, available for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].