Filastine - Loot

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This recording -- the third by the nomadic Barcelona-based beat-trawler -- blows bass speakers, coats its grooves with icy edges and uses samples to mimic an actual kit with the deftness of a seasoned drummer. Much less confined to minimalist, overt repetition of samples from the Middle East a la Muslimgauze, Loot does have a connection to the late Bryn Jones' work. Yet, the politics aren't as focused or overt. In this way, Filastine's work is truly global, in that it suggests nooks and crannies of homemade, local beat cultures, snags melodies from Cambodian minority gong ensembles to what might sound, for a second, like a reference to Cream's “White Room.” Then again, maybe it's open to whatever we think we hear in it. What sounds like it might be Brazilian gang funk spiced with a pinch of classical Persian violin melody, Indian tambura, a radio distress signal or monks chanting in the distance, just might be that, but ultimately, these snippets, whatever they are, are subsumed by a larger whole that makes this record pulse in a way that naturally shows modern and traditional existing side by side in urban areas, perhaps unconsciously. Think a slicker, hip-hop bound version of Harrapian Night Recordings' mysterious The Glorious Gongs Of Hainuwele LP.

In places, the ethnic influences are as real as they are deft, while elsewhere, the music doesn't reveal its roots so readily and as a result, becomes truly pan-global. “Colony Collapse,” for example uses metal percussion and vocal phrasing that anyone with an ear for Javanese folk music will recognize. Filastine has merely- effortlessly it seems- taken that melody and applied it, not only to the vocals, but a cheap synth line, all the while juxtaposing skittery beats to turn it into to something else entirely.

“May I Interrupt?” is 50 seconds of news collage, focusing on environmental collapse and suggestions of revolt, before it collides with the next track, “Skirmish,” an instrumental with any “world” references cloaked in syncopation and a repeated, sampled keyboard phrase.

In fact, much of this record is instrumental. “Spectralization,” for example, returns to a faint, minimal keyboard line, but constantly de-emphasizes it, and instead allows every chord its own featured spot. It becomes a strange, ever mutating mini-symphony that never quite lets go of its central theme. Such work takes incredible control and a pair of ears finely tuned.

Here is music that slices right through increasing xenophobia and the misunderstandings that come with it. It appears as if Filastine has spent enough real time dropping in on local cassette and DJ scenes the world over to recognize that we're much more connected than we often want to think. It's this that comes out so naturally on Loot and points one direction post-twentieth century sample-based music can go. - Bruce Miller

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