No other place on Earth breaths life into the art of experimental music quite like New York City. Whether the idea started with John Coltrane At the Village Vanguard or with the Velvet Underground playing for Andy Warhol at the Factory, the energy of urban experimentation has always found a forum in the city that never sleeps. From 1996-1999, DJ Spooky and his illbient cohorts gathered to explore all things hip-hop, electronic, and cutting edge at a nomadic party appropriately entitled Soundlab. Venues ranged from a loft in Chinatown to inside the giant brick foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge. Regardless, New York and international alchemist like DJ Wally, DJ Soulslinger, Anti-Pop Consortium, and scores of other artist laid down their version of the future of electronic music. This collection was assembled by Soundlab regulars Singe & Verb. Far more than just a compilation, Flav-O-Pac is constructed from the raw recordings of Soundlab events. The original tapes were cut, manipulated, and re-assembled into a series of tracks, which were then mixed together. Every sound has been removed from its chronological context, given a whole new meaning within the disc. The result is a wholly unique mixture of hip-hop, electronics, acoustics, drum'n'bass, and turntablism that is as constructed yet chaotic as the city that spawned these sounds. It is a sound that is distinctly New York in its gritty urban tone and it's ability to dislocate from the rest of the world. Anyone who has spent time in NYC knows what Soundlab is talking about.
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AllMusic Review by Joshua Glazer