Filastine – Loot (Muti Music)

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Los Angeles-born and now based in Barcelona, Grey Filastine has spent the last several years building up a formidable reputation amongst the global bass music scene, something that’s in part due to his playing more than 100 live shows a year, controlling loops and synced visuals through a mass of gear connected to an amplified shopping trolley. During the same time, he’s also maintained a reputation for political activism, whether with his marching band Infernal Noise Brigade, or more recent work in support of the Occupy Movement with his Sound Swarm; an orchestra of bike-mounted megaphones controlled by pirate radio transmitters. In particular, Filastine is known for his deft juggling of global music genres, and indeed the 13 tracks collected on this third album ‘Loot’s see him continuing to smoothly integrate Balkan and Middle Eastern instrumentation with everything from cumbia and dubstep through to dancehall and hiphop influences. While the currency-themed sleeve art suggests themes relating to the current global financial meltdown though, this isn’t really something that’s immediately perceptible when listening to the tracks. Whatever the case, Filastine chooses to open this set with what are easily two of the most atmospheric and ferocious moments on offer here.

The eerie ‘No Step’ sees a detailed web of digitally treated textures that calls to mind Amon Tobin gradually resolving around vast crunching hiphop beats and what sounds like manipulated string instrumentation, before ‘Colony Collapse’ takes things straight down into dark juddering dubstep more akin to the likes of The Bug as Indonesian vocalist Nova’s sweetly beguiling harmonies nicely counterbalance the growling sub-bass and industrial-edged snare programming. The Fukushima reactor-themed ‘Lost Records’ meanwhile sees Japanese rapper ECD dropping his MC flow over a shimmering backdrop of day-glo electro-dancehall synths, Geiger counter clicks and sudden contorted dubstep breakdowns, before ‘Juniper (Remix of Y La Bamba)’ offers up what’s easily one of the most subdued and gentle moments here, placing a ghostly rhythmic pulse beneath feathery layers of phased folk harmonies and acoustic guitars in a manner that suggests one of Prefuse 73’s more gossamer-tinged moments. An impressive third album from Filastine, ‘Loot’s sees him continuing to graft together seemingly disparate musical styles with consistently rewarding results.

Chris Downton

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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands