With five years since the release of his last album (2011's Son of Analog), the Chicago-bred, two-time Grammy nominated electronic music legend Felix Da Housecat is set to drop his latest album, Narrative Of Thee Blast Illusion, via No Shame on July 10. Calling it his most soulful and introspective album to date, this three-years-in-the-making project isn't Felix trying to appease you, though. He's said it himself: "I don’t have to prove myself to the new generation. I make what I like and try not to get caught up. My intention is not to make a million from this album. It’s all about moods."
Nothing is more mood-inducing that the soulful sounds of dub, which are front and center on "The Natural," the latest glimpse from the project. Featuring the iconic Lee "Scratch" Perry, who worked with everyone from Bob Marley and Max Romeo to the Beastie Boys and The Orb, "The Natural" gets down to the heart of things. Marrying a welcoming dub-wise riddim, the melodic, space-y journey is punctuated with some electronic tinges. Dub was always seen as a futuristic sound to begin with, but the blend of modern technology has really helped Perry's creative genius take off. If you hear the word "techno" or "electronic" and think of today's EDM Jesus-posing DJs, this isn't that at all. "The Natural" is more for the dim chillout rooms of raves gone by, where it's all about winding down and relaxing, and it's beautiful to see two artists only caring about making a beautiful tune, not chasing millions or trying to make sure everyone is on board. But don't take our word for it; here's Felix talking about working with Lee Perry, the legend:
"I watched the Bob Marley documentary and I knew who he was but didn’t know what he’d done," says Felix. "And then I watched The Upsetter which is also about him. My tour manager/co-producer Devon James Stewart, his dad plays keyboards for the Skatalites, one of the first and best reggae bands ever. Devon got a number for Mr Perry—I call him Mr Perry—he’d never heard of me so I had to send him a portfolio of music."
Felix then goes on to say that, after they figured out the specifics, Perry "walked in and started doing everything he does in the documentary. You can’t have a normal conversation with him: it’s like he has natural DMT. It’s not an act! And he went for it!" Felix says that he didn't "want to put him on top of a beat – I found his players from the 70s and had Jamaica up in New York like it was the 1970s! He asked: ‘can you feel me moving through you?’ And then I played bass like it was reggae on the very first take. Unbelievable."
Narrative of Thee Blast Illusion is out on July 10.