At some point in the unspecified Nineties, I happened into a record store in Austin, Texas, called 33 Degrees. A Saturday, the naturally nonexistent parking lot was overflowing. An in-store performance was taking place, featuring local and regional electronica artists. Memories of twenty years ago being vague, I do recall a band called Kitty playing. It was a duo, and the music they made was a split between Stereolab-minded motorik and more dance-minded groove pieces. After the performance, they mentioned that they had a cassette for sale, and i purchased it and enjoyed it. Then, as things like this happen, I filed it away in my memory, played it a few more times, and sort of forgot about it. After all, how many obscure local groups do you really remember?
Imagine my pleasant surprise, then, when I learned that Medical Records would be releasing a compilation of some of this Austin duo’s material, and while I don’t recall if any of those songs made it onto this collection, that’s quite okay, because the songs found here more than make up for memory (and cassette) loss. So I went into the listening experience with open and exciting ears, hoping to hear something I remembered and loved many moons ago, yet hoping to experience some new revelation about a band I knew little about.
It becomes obvious that there were two distinctive sides to Kitty. One is a mellow, instrumental groove that fits in nicely with contemporary electronica acts such as Seefeel, Laika, ISAN, and Furry Things. Songs like “Cobraverde,” “Eva” and “Herzog” slink along with a gentle electronic pulse that is quite easy on the ears, and wouldn’t be out of place in a really good chill-out podcast. The other side is occasionally noisy, loud, brash vocal numbers like “Stella” and “Rosannaarquette” that have a Massive Attack or Tricky vibe that is as equally interesting as Kitty’s mellower instrumental side.
Why should you care about a super-obscure electronica group from Texas that hasn’t existed in nearly twenty years? Well…I can’t answer that for you, but listening to Kitty is a pleasure for me, and maybe it will be for you, too.