Various Flav-O-Pac: Memeograph I

Over the last four years, the Soundlab retinue of musicians and visual artists has appeared unexpectedly in assorted urban venues, mostly in NYC. This new CD distils the musical essence of such gatherings. Flav-O-Pac represents a new generation of "mixed tape" format - releasing a series of snippets of improvised sounds from various sessions, digitally edited together. Flav-O-Pac is much more about the mix than about its ingredients. It is a different concept than a hip-hop mix, where one lays down an hour of music spontaneously. In the land of ProTools, one has the ability (or the curse) of being able to edit things exactly the way you want - but never with the spontaneous real-time feel that an actual mixed tape has. Nonetheless, Flav-O-Pac's elements of hip-hop, drum & bass, jazz, tribal, ambient and traffic noise appear and disappear so quickly that a successful mix is achieved. If smooth listening is your idea of a good mix, you should pass this one by and keep shopping. The fuzzy, distended sounds of illbience throughout provoke rather than soothe. This is not unexpected considering the contributors: DJ Spooky, DJ Wally and Soulslinger, to name but three. The best aspect of this collection is its overall roughness. Engineers Singe and Verb have laboured to preserve the rough sounds and overall jump-cut nature of the Soundlab soirees, ensuring that few sections drag. If you are looking for musical inspiration for your own creativity, Flav-O-Pac will goose your brain in the right direction. (Soundlab)