Vocal Studies & Uprock Narratives
Record label: Warp (UK)
Format: 2xLP/CD
Release date: 17 July 2001

Scott Herren, Atlanta's new underground audio golden child, has releases scattered on several labels and is known by many names. He records as Savath & Savalas when jazzy downtempo stylings are the order of the day. He also produces works as Delarosa & Asora, a pseudonym prone to fits of glitches and digital twitches. This album, however, catches him under his hip-hop nom de plume: Prefuse 73. While this release is primarily Prefuse, elements of his other personalities creep through.

One of the first things you notice about Scott Herren's music is this obsession with dissecting phrases into indecipherable sounds. You can hear it in songs like "Living Life," "Nuno," and "Back In Time." Much like DJ Shadow, he can't help messing around with the elements placed before him. As Prefuse 73, Scott takes things several steps further, making one Josh Davis look he's standing still. His best work is saved for the collaborative efforts on the album. Mikah 9 of Freestyle Fellowship appears on "Life/Death"; his lyrical prowess is still as potent as ever, and Prefuse's erratic rhythms fits his flow perfectly. "Last Light" already has my vote for song of the year - off-kilter futuristic soul with Sam Prekop (The Sea & Cake) adding somewhat modified vocals. Its overall effect is like being love struck and trying your best to get over the initial butterflies. "Blacklist" is the showstopper, featuring not one but two of underground hip-hop's finest lyricists: MF Doom and Aesop Rock. These guys spit circles around the glut of backpack-slinging mic holders amongst the genre's cellar dwellers. All the while, Prefuse's glorious mix of rough beats and smooth textures underlies the lyric fathom.

Scott Herren's work has been labeled IDM, and while it does share some characteristics of that sound, it ultimately has little to do with it at the same time. It could be argued that this man has created his own genre. Any of his alter egos will do you right, but his latest under Prefuse 73 is Herren at his best. A definite contender for a coveted spot on the "top releases of 2001" list.


back to OTV reviews page
back to reviews home