FLAV-O-PAC: Memeograph I
This extraordinary piece of sound is no mere record, it’s more a cut-and-paste collage mix of DJ, MC, and various other tech-head type performances culled from over four years of tape from Cultural Alchemy’s Soundlab performance space. The brains behind this daunting construct are Singe and Verb, who mixed varied performances down into single cuts to highlight each artist. And quite a fucking impressive mixed bag as well. DJ Spooky contributes two mesmerizing but brief cuts, and that seems to be the general rule here. Forgive me for bringing punk into the discussion, but this record seems very punk, very “loud fast rules,” both in terms of short crash track length and in the sense of newness and freedom from conventions of music that FLAV-O-PAC puts across.
It’s not just a DJ record, nor a turntablist contest, more postmodern deconstruction of any sound sources that these bedroom innovators can get their hands on. Sometimes it’s the sound of the last twenty years being spit right back in my face. Most likely 50% of your record collection will jump out at you in the course of listening to FLAV-O-PAC . adrenaline blur. M. Singe samples this one guitar line that I know I should recognize but I just can’t, and surrounds it with space noise and creeping death drums. The Blank Slates channel hip-hop’s future in the comfort of a padded cell, while DJ Wally’s performance is total cut-up weirdness. There are some unexpected faces that I’m very pleased ended up on the comp. Shizuo weighs in with “Consciousness,” a two DAT noise spazz work-out that includes shout-outs to “all the fucking punx.” Byzar shows up with a menacing trip-hop nod-off that doubles the length of the majority of tracks, but is no less engaging. It’s just that some people have different priorities. Taylor Mead, of all people, even closes the album with a thirty-two second fairy tale dedicated to Andy Warhol! There are at least twelve artists I haven’t been able to mention in this review, but this album is less a testament to the lineup of artists present, rather the creativity and innovation that a place like Cultural Alchemy could inspire and nurture in artists from such diverse backgrounds and aesthetics. Either way, it’s utterly essential listening.
Soundlab, PO Box 991, 128 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002