Prefuse 73 (aka Scott Herren) has made quite a name for himself, in a relatively short space of time, since the now classic “Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives”. The rather prolific musician (recording under a variety of different aliases and projects, including Savath and Savalas amongst many others), now brings to light his latest Prefuse 73 album, “Surrounded by Silence”.
So what's new? Well, one of the major innovations is that Scott Herren has endeavoured to create everything on this album himself, so samples are kept to a minimum, but this only helps to instill a freshness to the sound he has already developed, with a dazzling array of effects on show to really give an idea of what he can do. Put simply this album is nothing short of staggering. Listening to it is reminiscent of a hyperactive hip hop fan trying to listen to all his favourite pirate radio stations at the same time, such is the effect of the flicking in and out of rhythms and sounds, cutting from hip hop rhythms into narratives, into electronic swathes, back again and somewhere else. Never enough time to focus for too long, never enough time to get bored.
There are an amazing amount of collaborations on this album, stretching across a whopping 21 tracks. “Morale Crusher” featuring former Anti-Pop Consortium member Beans is way up there; “Bad Memory Interlude One” is basically an effects master class (you’d never have thought so many sounds were possible in one track!) and “Pagina Dos”, which utilizes amongst vocal harmonies and all manner of interlacing effects, the sound of a real plucked banjo! It would be too much to keep this intense creation going without some dips, and so it is with “Now You're Leaving”, which is slightly grating around the chorus, the vocal seeming too screech from too high in the mix. All tracks, though, are supported by Herrens' seemingly easy knack for creating lush melodies, which really gel everything together; though his tracks are complex, they are eminently listenable, and occasionally even achingly beautiful.
This album can only enhance Prefuse 73's standing as a modern day musical master, who is really blurring the two worlds of hip hop and electronica, and turning the mix into something new and exciting again.
Scott Herren claims to want nothing to do with electronica, a shame really as it seems he has just created what sounds like one of the genres finest albums.