Album Reviews

Prefuse 73 – Preparations

(Warp) UK release date: 15 October 2007


Prefuse 73 is just one of the recording pseudonyms of former Atlanta B-boy now Barcelona resident Scott Herren. Herren also releases material as Delarosa and Asora, Piano Overlord and Savath & Savalas. He is busy. The music released under the Prefuse 73 moniker has gained him respect of both IDM fans and Hip-Hop heads, his glitch riddled instrumentals bridging the gap between Oval style electronic trickery and straight ahead phat beats. He has built an impressive back catalogue of instrumental fractured hip-hop.

Once the very notion of instrumental hip-hop seemed ludicrous. Hip-Hop is a genre built around two turntables and a microphone, where the MC is King, where the rhythm and the rhyme collided in glorious Technicolor. Stripped of the bravado, the lyrical flow, the dexterity and wit, what reminded? A few faded James Brown samples and a clunky drum machine. Who would be interested in that?

Thanks to the crate digging, sample splicing exploits of the likes of DJ Shadow, RJD2 and Madlib, instrumental hip-hop has helped to push the envelope of its often sonically straitjacketed cousin. Herren has a central place at the table, blending and blurring the boundaries of electronica and hip-hop, developing and discovering new musical vocabularies.

On a first listen at low volume Preparations sounds like the relaxed breezy vibe of his Savath & Savalas offshoot had spread into his work as Prefuse 73. On closer inspection and at a suitably stupid volume, however, Preparations rocks and lurches in grand fashion.

The twinkling bells and spongy beats of Beaten Thurdays flip into the free jazz squawking and funky percussion of Aborted Hugs. The neugaze rippling fuzz and chimes of Class Of 73 Bells slides into the flamenco sunshine guitars, windmill strings and Andalusian rhythms of Girlfriend Boyfriend. Prog Version Slowly Crushed starts with video game bleeps before being eaten whole by a bass synth that is fatter than the queue for lunch at a sumo convention.

Battles‘ John Stanier adds live drums to the Four Tet with his hand in the blender chaos of Smoking Red. Let It Ring and I Knew You Were Gonna Go are reminiscent of the gentle evocative electronica of Boards of Canada. All wistful string washes, backward sliding beats and blurred hazy voices

Pomade Suite Version One is a riot. A brief turntablist throw down of sliced beats and voices quickly evolves into a glitchy cut up classic. The vocal samples are stretched, clipped, phased and distorted across a forward facing collection of drum loops. It has the urgent playfulness of The Fields‘ elastic Under the Ice.

Preparations is headphone art and bass bin therapy. Light up, sit back and retire for a while in its deep rooted bliss.


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More on Prefuse 73
Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian
Prefuse 73 – Preparations
Prefuse 73 – Security Screenings
Prefuse 73 – Surrounded By Silence


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