FILASTINE / “Judas Goat”

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According to the Filastine website, this neo-dada sound collagist (i.e. DJ) who mixes field recordings, “found” sounds and snippets of pre-existing recordings all along with beats is “a longtime Seattle resident. Filastine has been a part of the hammering rhythm section of anti-capitalist tribal-rock/performance troupe ¡Tchkung!, conceiver and founding member of radical marching band Infernal Noise Brigade, and, most recently, a sweat-inducing club DJ and composer of wildly diverse and drrty laptop music. In short, he has spent his artistic life heretofore straddling the line between unrelentingly political statement and action, and the lost-in-music euphoria of the broadest possible definition of pop music. His new proper debut, Burn It (on kindred avant spirit DJ /rupture's UK-based Soot Records), steams with juddering hip-hop/modern R&B rhythms, South American breaks, North African trance, and a grip of vocal and instrumental contributors from every corner of the world.”
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This is music for a world gone mad under the mantra of “might is right” as if the ability to blow up something or someone is synonymous with being politically and morally righteous. While I will not listen to this music all day, every day or even all day, any day, I do recognize that DJ Filastine is definitely making an important artistic presentation.

Audio mash-ups and montages sound easy, all you have to do is…. Until you try putting one together. They are dificult to sustain. Additionally, the editing process requires both a good ear and an ability to compose by cobbling together pre-existing sounds. DJ Filastine is one of the best.

Filastine has studied music with masters from diverse cultures and ethnicities. His musical experience undoubtedly makes a significant contribution to his mixing skills.

Filastine literally roams the planet with a laptop, mics and hook-ups, recording everywhere he goes. Rather than sampling music from the past, he is using snippets of the present, and pushing together physical and social vibrations to produce a singular sound.

Plus, I really dig the humor in his music. Some conscious artists are almost grim in their seriousness and that’s a big turn-off. Those who can not laugh, can not stay human.

Here are four Filastine tracks. Three are from his new CD, Burn It, available for $10 from this website. “Judas Goat,” the fourth track is a free download available from Filastine’s website.

—Kalamu ya Salaam


        Never ceases to amaze…        

As someone who has been listening to hip-hop since Run-D.M.C.'s debut album dropped back in '83, the ubiquity of hip-hop and hip-hop-derived music never ceases to amaze me. I mean, this Filastine cat is all over the map at once—consciously and intentionally dropping sounds from at least three different continents (South America, North America, Asia) into the same mix. He knows what he's doing and he does it well.

Filastine's work also says a lot about the changing landscape of underground and independent music. It used to be that your biggest problem as an indie artist was distribution. Nowadays, by virtue of the internet, that's a problem of the past. A second problem was access to recording studios and recording engineers. Nowadays, any halfway-decent laptop and a couple thousand dollars worth of software and equipment will have you up and runnig.

When I look at the bullshit going down in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Palestine; when I look at the soaring oil prices and the melting polar caps; when I look at the ever-increasing corporatization of our music, our dance, our style, our culture...sometimes I'm tempted to just throw up my hands, thinking, there's no way out, we just can't win. But then I see and hear the underground resistance from brown people like Filastine. The spiritual resistance from black people like Sweet Honey In The Rock. The common-folk resistance from white people like Randy Newman. And I think to myself, yes, there is a way out. We can win. We just have to keep on keeping on. Whether it's lifting our voices in harmony, programming our beats on laptop computers, or composing our songs on pianos, guitars or with plain ol' pen and paper, we just have to keep on keeping on.

—Mtume ya Salaam

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006 at 12:24 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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