Felix Da Housecat, or Felix Stallings, has helped pioneer almost every electronica genre: house, elctroclash, trance—the list goes on. If there is anything you should take from Stallings’ music, it’s that he isn’t afraid to try new things; his tenth studio album, “He was King” definitely shows no exception
Stallings has long-attempted to venture away from his house style to experiment with other genres. In 2001, he experimented and helped pioneer the elctroclash movement. In 2004 he began experimenting with pop, and in 2007 he began putting his hands into P-funk, soul and hip-hop. However, the Chicago DJ dove into another genre for a portion of his tenth studio album: European elctrodance.
The result? A perfect mixture of funkadelic grooves and electro pop hooks all added to Stallings’ standard electronic rhythms. “He was King” is quite possibly the best album of Felix da Housecat to date, and with 10 studio albums often credited as pioneer works of different genres – that is a big statement.
Stallings opens up his album with a dance floor hit titled, “We All Want to Be Prince,” a tribute to Stallings’ admiration and love for the artist Prince. It is not often that you get to hear Stallings sing on a track; however he makes an exception here and graces the track with his voice—and what a grace it is. Stallings’ soft melodies, composed of only lyrics from famous Prince songs, gently compliment the electro-funk tunes that base this track. Stallings’ songstress, Nesh, also makes an appearance on the track. She adds a nice female voice that really is the cherry on top of an already amazing track.
Stallings moves on from electro-pop grooves to his more trademark elctroclash/house style throughout his album. While the album starts off with the tantalizing melody, “We all Want To Be Prince,” it quickly moves to more upbeat European electro dance tracks such as “Plastick Fantastik” and “Spank You Very Much.”
The most compelling electro dance track on the album is “Do We Move Your World.” The track features a combination of up-tempo keyboards to smooth an electric guitar rift that creates a tune most likely be heard on dance floors across the world. As the electro pop track takes off. Nesh begins to compliment the fast-paced tune with her slow, drawn-out vocals, providing a pleasant balance between vocals and a beat—a problem Stallings had encountered on previous albums.
“He Was King” hits its high point with the leaked track “Kickdrum.” While this track does have electronic rifts and synthesized drums, it is not your traditional electroclash track. If anything, “Kickdrum” is a track all about distortion. Stallings starts out with a simple beat – nothing but a throbbing rhythmic drum and complimenting clap. No keyboard, no synthesized guitar rift, just a drumbeat and a clap. Throughout the track, Stallings, plays with the pitch and frequency, creating new sounds from different pitches. While this may sound like a train wreck of a track, the change of pitch and hypnotic drum rhythms are intriguing to say the least and keep you begging for more. As if that is not enough, Nesh coldly chants, “Big fat kick drum/Makes the girlies get some/Big fat kickdrum/makes me go boom boom,” leaving you mesmerized while you dance.
Though Stallings has many moments of genius, he does provide one lackluster track later in the album. “Elvi$” is an electronic house beat. The track actually starts off well with a flaring electronic guitar rift, however as the track progresses past the rift, Stallings incorporates too many different sounds into the track. If “Kickdrum” was Stallings’ simplest track, “Elvi$” is the most complicated. “Elvis” incorporates high-pitched keyboards, synthesized drumbeats, guitars, you name it. However, the result becomes a chaotic one; the track never hooks you on a melody and becomes almost annoying toward the end.
All of the tracks on “He Was King” may not be winners, but at least the majority of the album is. This album has everything: innovation, genius, creativity, melodies and even a few mistakes. But all in all, Stallings creates an amazing album, well worth the buy – cementing his status as the king of innovation in the electronica industry.