CD review: Filastine, “Loot”

Boston Globe, April 3, 2012

A found-sound quality pervades “Loot,’’ the third album from Filastine, a Los Angeles-raised, Barcelona-based musician-activist who wanders the globe from warehouses to squatters colonies to ecological danger zones, forging ties with fellow dissidents along the way. Pushing a shopping cart rigged with microphones and speakers, he makes and manipulates field recordings of a sort: digital noise, blips, and loops harvested from samba to bhangra, from TV news to YouTube clips, from motorbikes to prayer calls. The bass and beats mark kinship with some strands of electronica (you can definitely dance to it) and Filastine deftly manipulates texture and mood. “Lost Records’’ featuring Japanese rapper ECD is edgy and agitated, while “GenDJer2’’ is stuttery but tempered, with ethereal vocals by Indonesian singer Nova. Not all the instrumental tracks hold the attention, despite such titles as “Informal Sector Parade’’ (an economics reference) or “Sidi Bouzid’’ (the town where a Tunisian vendor’s self-immolation set off the Arab Spring), but all reflect a creative mind that avoids fusion shortcuts and (for the most part) didacticism.