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Fila Brazillia: Jump Leads

Album: Jump Leads
Label: Twentythree

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A ubiquitous presence on the remix/mix-disc circuit, Fila Brazillia is a British duo with an identity as gauzy and diffuse as its music. Best known for last year's downtempo anthology Another Late Night and reworkings of Orb, Radiohead, and U.N.K.L.E. (collected on 2000's Brazilification), the group has been at the forefront of genre-hopping lifestyle music since the early '90s. Prominence in such a characterless field might seem like a dubious honor, but Jump Leads helps distinguish Fila Brazillia from the legions of aural decorators clogging record-store racks with interchangeable visions of eclectic electronica. Its entirely original songs wander in and out of Fila Brazillia's heavily trafficked chill-out terrain, while staking a claim to a land beyond boundaries. The album-opening "Bumblehaun" is a breezy, infectious dalliance marked by mid-tempo breakbeats, over-processed harmonicas, and a gameful guitar figure wavering between Stereolab and Phoenix. Like all of the album's better tracks, the song splits the difference between goofiness and studiousness, massaging its background-conducive pieces into shapes worthy of foreground status. "Motown Coppers" mixes thwacky electro with reggae tinges reminiscent of The Police, while "Spill The Beans" features a soulful vocal sample treated like Ween playing the down-home breakbeat blues. So goes the first 15 minutes of an accomplished album that derives its singularity mostly from outside influences. Jump Leads plays like a tourist's relaxed sojourn through resort-ready electronic aestheticism, but at its best, the album casts Fila Brazillia as a worthwhile guide more than a hapless hanger-on.