Guillermo Scott Herren, as Prefuse 73 is known to his mum, is most certainly his own man. Half-Catalan, half-Irish/Cuban, he forsook a burgeoning career as a Dirty South rap producer to branch out on his own under the pseudonym Delarosa and Asora.
That was 12 years ago, and Herren is now releasing the fifth full-length album under his Prefuse 73 monicker. As ever, it’s a tricky – if not impossible – task to pin him to a genre, but here’s a taster: glitch hop, IDM, psychedelic, and his own term, “machine funk”.
The implications for Ampexian ring true enough. Here is a 29-track collection of cuts ranging from 13 seconds to four minutes; from dreamy choral samples to dub loops and back again. He’s nothing if not prolific, as his rich back catalogue suggests.
The more surprising aspect is just how well the LP works as a whole. Rather than jarring from style to style, the procession through moods, genres and methods is handled with care, and while successive tracks can be utterly fresh, they’re never reached illogically.
It’s a quality evident largely because of Herren’s decision to renounce straight digital recording and instead imprint to analogue Ampex tape – an altogether more intensive method, apparently. The result, however, is one of cohesion, warmth and timelessness among all the electronic gubbins.
Of the eight tracks lasting longer than two minutes, DEC Machine Funk revives early Cornelius material, Regato juxtaposes an irresistible clockwork beat with picked guitar, and Simple Loop Choir fulfils its titular promise, doing away with percussion in favour of an ethereal vocal progression.
Its successor, No Lights Still Rock, generously re-applies glitch hop stylings before Digan Lo, the album’s most fully developed track, raises the bar further still with the kind enduring, wistful trip-hop Air made their own with Moon Safari.
Of the sub-two minutes tracks – and there are some 21 of them – Herren exhibits, arranges and toys with any number of samples, loops and effects. A measure of the man, it’s practically impossible to decipher which he dug up and which he’s fashioned from scratch, but the entire affair remains spookily linear.
Ampexian, though far from conventional, is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and that, surely, was the aim of Prefuse 73 – the myriad of sounds are a pleasure in and of themselves, and the task of sourcing and patching them together sounds as if it were undertaken lovingly; no need to throw shapes or select only a few tracks for repeat spins.
Another feather safely and securely in his cap, Lord only knows what’s next for Herren. His legacy already assured in his field (or fields, perhaps) with no apparent signs of slowing down, this is further evidence of the enduring, glitchy charm of Prefuse 73, and another compelling reason to seek him out.