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Fila Brazilia

Mix discs are a tricky bunch. I used to groove on more straight mixes that slammed on and on (like DJ Micro's Micro Tech Mix), but as my interests and listening has changed, I've found it hard to keep an attention span for that kind of stuff unless I'm up on a hardcore coding or dancing binge. Also in that time, I've found that the mix discs that have held up the best for me are the ones with more variety (like the awesome 2CD ColdKrushCuts or the crazy wack funky FSUK 3 mix by Bentley Rhythm Ace).

At any rate, Fila Brazilia have been near the top of the downtempo scene for probably half a century now, so I didn't really have any doubts when I heard that they were going to release a mix disc. I knew that their influences and interests (they even worked with Afghan Whig Greg Dulli on last years Twilight Singers release) were very diverse, though, so I hoped that would shine through on any sort of mix disc that they put together instead of being a mindnumbing mix through same-o tempos and track after track of downtempo beats. Fortunately, they definitely do that, and although most of the tracks aren't that obscure (the excitement level isn't quite as high if you've heard most of the tracks), they do a good job in changing things up and keeping the vibe going.

Just scanning titles on the disc, you'll get a good idea of the different things that you're going to hear. The group starts out with a bit of cinematic goodness on "The Persuaders Theme" by John Barry (from back in 1972), before dropping into another instrumental on the groovy "Firefly" by Homelife. From there, things get a little more weird, as the Infesticons (a Mike Ladd pseudonym) drop the absolutely kooky rap track "Hero Theme" (if one track feels a bit out-of-place, it would be this one) and Prince Alla adds yet another wrinkle to the proceedings with some tasteful reggae.

If you've never heard the Mr. Scruff track "Get A Move On," that may as well be a reason to pick up this release along. Sampling a singer and trumpet line from the 30's or so, it does what Moby did on his Play album, and you won't get that bothersome sell-out feeling listening to it. Mixing up styles even more (but keeping a rather nice flow), from there the album includes Marvin Gaye, the Beta Band, David Holmes, and Nightmares on Wax. Even the more mainstream Kelis track "Suspended" doesn't feel too out-of-place and hokey given its new surroundings.

Not denying their own place in laid-backville, Fila Brazilia include their own track "Nature Boy," and the flute-driven number slides in nicely beside everything else. Overall, it's an excellent mix that is obviously made for a more chill-out atmosphere, but isn't so boring that it will have you nodding off. My only complaints are that they let a couple tracks linger on too long (like the aforementioned Mr. Scruff and the Beta Bands "It's Not Too Beautiful") when it might have been better to cut them a bit shorter for the context of the mix and then a couple more tracks could have been included as well. Also, if you already own a lot of the music on the disc (as I already did), it might be hard to justify it, but if you're looking for one disc to throw in and emcompass things, this is a safe bet.

Rating: 7.25