DJ Raff's U.S. debut is a strange bird. First, it's not a new album, but a collection pulling from his most recent Chilean release, Collage Binario, and including choice cuts from 2008's Raffolution and two other EPs (also Chilean releases). Second, the title is misleading — the album is hardly politicized or otherwise socially conscious. Third, he's not even promoting Latino & Proud with a U.S. tour, which is a damn shame. This sublime late-night record blends futuristic hip-hop beats with the ambience of dark funk and a metric ton of synths. Despite having disparate sourcing, all of the tracks combine into a subdued fabric that goes head-to-head with the best beat-makers at SA's own Exponential Records. Obligatory rapper guest spots on "I Need A Beat" and "Desde el cuarto de máquinas" display Raff's woozy swagger. Inversely, the gurgling synths and mystic arpeggios on "N.A.S.A. Latina" and "Digital Rain (En el desierto)" paint Raff as friend to headphone dilettantes. Currently, Raff is stationed in Barcelona. I'd much appreciate it if he set up camp in Saytown and sold out the Limelight.
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