Filterwolf: Viva La Rave

On his third Filterwolf album, Adnan Duric deftly merges acoustic and electronic sounds into Viva La Rave's twelve tracks without ever making doing so sound contrived or anything but the most natural thing in the world. The impression quickly forms that an overall sound picture takes shape in his mind first and then Duric works intently on bringing it into physical being layer by layer. Samples are woven carefully into a given track's construction until, bit by bit, a heavily melodic and high-energy setpiece comes to life (the swirling flute-like and brash guitar motifs at the respective centers of “Pon De Leo” and “Iguana” attest to Duric's melodic gifts). The production of the album is noteworthy in itself, as Duric powers the tunes with a huge drum sound that's then beefed up with a diverse array of samples, vocals, and instruments. Guitar, organ, piano, and percussion are just some of the natural sounds threaded into Viva La Rave's construction.

A clockwork keyboard figure and rich tapestry of synthetic elements establish a brooding tone at the outset of “No Gravity” but the clouds part soon enough when a booming kick drum, steamy hi-hats, and shotgun claps enter to transform the track from mood piece to club track. “Zeros and Ones” by comparison takes no time at all to get moving with Duric powering acoustic guitar patterns with an insistent house pulse. His jones for acoustic-electronic fusions is never more evident than during “Brooklyn Via Montmartre,” which finds the jazz-tinged swing of a rollicking piano motif intensified by jazz drumming and robust horns (even a blustery trumpet solo). Duric also confidently blends genres, in this case collapsing the distance between jazz and house. In keeping with its grandiose title, “Olympia” couples strings and a booming kick drum to epic effect, and sweetens the deal by working in a funk guitar lick and soulful deep house vocalizing. Though “Metro Breath” opens with a looped guitar figure that sounds suspiciously like the opening riff from “Gimme Shelter,” Duric subsequently shifts the focus away from that element to a spicy bass pulse and slinky groove. Coming as it does after so many acoustic-electronic hybrids, the synth-heavy closer “Glamorama” initially startles, especially when it's animated by chunky synthesizer sequencer patterns that Duric covers in synth washes and squiggles. There's much to like about the album, especially when every track offers up a relatively distinct soundworld, and the album is both experimental and accessible—not the easiest of balances to achieve.

December 2012