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Filastine & Nova are a multimedia duo working to undermine borders. Their music collides electronic beat production with dense layers of voice, concréte sounds, analogue synths and strings. Spin magazine calls it "bass music for crumbling urban futures," and Pitchfork says "they sound less like `world' music and more like ...

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Lex Lindsey

Atavistic office breakdown: ‘Salarymen’ go wild in third episode of Filastine’s Abandon video series

Release: October 10, 2016

It is morning in the office of an anonymous startup at the dawn of the digital age, circa 1996. Beige walls entomb data serfs pecking at workstations, unaware that the world is about to flip upside down. Welcome to the latest episode of Abandon, a video series on liberation from work by the artists Filastine.

Filastine are an Indonesian and American duo based in Barcelona, who combine bass-heavy electronic music with, image, movement and ideas to trespass borders. They have earned a dedicated international following for their otherworldly music and intense live performances.

Their current project, Abandon, fuses video art, documentary, and music to explore how we sell our time on earth, and the ways we imagine getting free. Each of the four episodes profiles a unique personal revolt against low-valued work: an Indonesian miner, a Portuguese maid, American office workers, and Spain’s scrap metal salvagers.

‘Salarymen’ brings Abandon into the office, at the very moment in history when computers first began to dominate our lives. But the dreams of a frictionless technocracy quickly hit a glitch: “the CRT screens are taken over by hypnotizing video feedbacks, triggering seizures in the workers,” explains Grey Filastine.  “The data serfs reject the machines, seek out anything natural, from the potted plants to the animals within themselves.”

To embody the salarymen, Filastine tapped the Seattle butoh dance trio P.A.N. “We have a long history of collaboration, some of our first tracks were made for P.A.N. performances,” Filastine notes. “This story was made for them: atavistic, raw.” Setting the scene for this office catharsis, Filastine sourced obsolete computers and period motivational posters to build a space of perfect spiritual emptiness.

‘Salarymen’s music also features vintage electronics, the squelching leads and lo-fi textures of classic synthesizers. “We used the same musical instruments that Kraftwerk played in their teutonic love songs to the robot, but bent the circuits for an opposite effect; the synths are harmonized with mechanical hums, and driven by percussive mouse clicks and qwerty keystrokes.”

"Filastine creates tracks so geographically and chronologically diverse that they sound less like "world" music and more like music from another world." -Pitchfork

"Powerfully political and distinctly global" - NPR Music

"Dystopian bass music for crumbling urban futures. the soundtrack to a rising heat humidity index." - Spin Magazine

"The prototype of globalized urban sound" -Prefix Mag

Abandon’s tracks will be available on Filastine’s next album, out in early 2017.

About Filastine

Filastine is the duo of composer/director Grey Filastine and vocalist/designer Nova Ruth. Before starting Filastine in 2006, Grey was part of the insurrectionary marching band Infernal Noise Brigade. He spent much of his life recording soundscapes and studying rhythm across the world. One of those travels brought him to Indonesia in 2010, where he met Nova Ruth rhyming in the hip-hop group Twin Sista. Since then Nova has added her rich musical roots to Filastine’s sound; she grew up singing pentecostal spirituals, koranic recitations in the mosque, and playing Javanese gamelan. They are now based in Barcelona.

Filastine’s compositions fuse contemporary electronic beats with concrete sounds, voices, percussion, and acoustic strings. This is future bass music from a future where the globe has been flipped, the sonic territories remixed, where syncopated mid-eastern rhythms and asian melodies shape a new urban sound. Filastine have released a trilogy of full-length albums, a dozen vinyls on an equal number of record labels, and a grip of heady conceptual mixtapes.

Beyond music, Filastine uses video, design, and now dance, as forms of universal language to communicate their vision. Last year Filastine debuted 4RRAY, a live AV system that uses bespoke software to control multi-screen projections in a powerful cinematic performance. They have toured the five continents and played nearly five hundred gigs, ranging from music festivals: Sonar (ES), Decibel (US), Les Vieilles Charrues (FR), to art spaces: V&A Museum (UK), Foreign Affairs (DE), Erarta Museum (RU) to ephemeral places: Calais Jungle migrant camp (FR), Downtown Cairo Arts (EG), Hidden Agenda (HK).

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