Filastine's work just gets more and more panoramic, helped by Nova's ethereal singing, whilst still being grounded by twisting, ominous beats and bass lines. A joy, as always.
Favorite track: Perbatasan.
Drapetomania is a new collaboration between Barcelona’s veteran producer Grey Filastine and Indonesian neo-soul vocalist Nova Ruth. Electronic and acoustic, pop and wildly experimental, from roots music to future bass, Drapetomania is an audio strike against xenophobia, proposing a borderless and polyphonic world.
The duo made Drapetomania in a series of improvised music studios, from a wooden sailing ship in the Indian Ocean to a dusty village in the Sahara, and in barrios from Brooklyn to Barcelona. The iconic 808 drum machine and analog synths of electronic music were short-circuited by tropical humidity, abraded by dust storms, and saturated with the cacophony of a dozen cities. The duo’s nomadism wasn’t optional, but determined by which countries would let in both nationalities and how long they were allowed to stay. This struggle with borders enters into the lyrics, and even the process, of the album. ‘Perbatasan’ is inspired by the band’s experience performing in the Calais Jungle migrant camp in France, and was recorded inside the holding cell of a former deportation center.
Filastine’s beat constructions share the loose organic stutter of fellow angelino Flying Lotus, but owe more to North Africa than North America. Syncopated drum patterns and heavy bass pressure come to the foreground on instrumental tracks like the Arabic-inflected footwork of ‘Blockchainz’ and the dark psychedelic trap of ‘Cleaner’. Former guest vocalist Nova is now a full partner, adding her otherworldly voice and songwriting to tracks like ‘Fenomena’, ‘Senescence, and ‘Miner’. Long-term Filastine collaborator Brent Arnold contributes lush cello lines across the album.
Drapetomania’s title comes from an 18th century medical diagnosis for the urge of the slave to run away, at that time considered a mental illness. This urge to escape is further explored in ‘Abandon’, a suite of four videoclips from the album, and in the Drapetomania performance which uses music, cinematic live video, and dance to conjure an emergency exit from the anthropocene.
released April 28, 2017
Composed and produced by Grey Filastine with
Nova Ruth- voice & lyrics & co-writer (Miner, Perbatasan, Fenomena,
Senescence, Matamata), piano (Glass Seagulls), synths (Salarymen)
Brent Arnold- cello (Miner, Perbatasan, Senescence, Night X),
co-writer (Senescence, Night X, Perbatasan), kalimba (Senescence)
Gondrong Gunarto-sitar (Senescence), kendang (Night X), ukulele (Perbatasan)
Jessika Kenney- voice & lyrics (Fenomena)
Ribongia- keyboards (Chatarreros)
Totok Tewel- guitar (Fenomena)
Safril- suling (Halcyon)
Scott Adams- accordion (Night X)
Night X is a remix of Night, Exquisite by Brent Arnold
mix consulting by Céline Frezza at JFX Studio
mastering by Eric Oberthaler
design by Filastine & Dimaspas
satellite photos courtesy of NASA