Swifty Lazarus The Envelope Please

Let's go back to the golden age of sampling where people would swipe whatever they wanted, the crazier the better. If you miss those Native Tongue/Bomb Squad/Dust Brothers days, this is for you. Tom Walsh (NOMA) has a low-tech approach to the making of tracks, which is totally engaging and humorous. When interviewed a few months ago, he opined that sampling was the new harmolodics, and judging from the approach here, it's well observed. The Envelope Please isn't as wild as John Oswald's Plunderphonics, but it has the same irreverent spirit. The unifying voice is that of Todd Swift, whose recitations cover ground from politics to cyborgs and airports, with conspiracies everywhere. The backing tracks are always suitable to Swift's nasal, sardonic style. Swift acts a bit as well, adding to the vocal variety. At times, he adopts an English accent, transforms into a hard-boiled gumshoe ("Suburbia Mythologica"), adds an American twang ("Amerika/Moscow") and becomes an all-powerful cartoon narrator ("A Solemn Meditation On The Fantastic Four"). Two long tracks explore different concepts - the winner for me is the hilarious "Genesis/Mimesis," which has Earl Pastko duetting with himself by reading the opening of The Book Of Genesis along with verbal extrapolations of the passages all lurching toward the unifying force of A Tribe Called Quest sample. Steinski would be proud. (Wired On Words)