As his name implies, Felix Da Housecat has made his career in the electronic music scene. To be honest, I’d never heard of him before finding this track, but the fact it features the ever eccentric Lee “Scratch” Perry made me stand up and take notice. In this track, Felix becomes a Dubcat rather than a Housecat as he immediately launches into a super heavy dub. Be warned, unless you have a very good set of headphones or a decent set of speakers, you won’t hear much because of the use of low frequencies which are the domain of dub music.
For fans of EDM music who have come to expect the typical build up followed by a massive drop, this track may disappoint you. This isn’t a track you use to start a party. However, it’s a sublime chill out track to throw on when you want to relax and unwind. Also, the sonics are only half of the story. There is an official music video featuring Felix and Perry, but not like you’ve ever seen them before. Take a look:
Trippy, isn’t it? I read some comments from the director of the video, Jon Conklin, and he said that he decided early on in the process that this wasn’t going to be a music video with a narrative. Rather it was going to be effects based to try and convey the mood of the song. I think he totally nailed it.
The director also explained that the effect used in this video was derived from a modern version of the Rutt-Etra Video Synthesizer (which was an analog raster manipulation device for video and image processing invented in 1972). The device was able to manipulate the video with an audio signal, and resulted in some ground breaking visual effects and art like this work from Woody Vasulka and Brian O’Reilly:
While researching the Rutt-Etra device, I also found this site (Rutt-Etra-Izer) which allows you to upload an image, and apply the same type of effects. You can change things like line spacing, line thickness, and line depth. The feature image of this blog entry is actually this image below, but put through the Rutt-Etra-Izer:
Sadly there is not a lot of information out there on the web about Steve Rutt or Bill Etra and this magical invention of theirs. There is all of one line in the Wikipedia entry for it. However, there are a few niche websites out there that have documented some images and info from that era for posterity.