Prefuse 73 | Surrounded by Silence
Warp | CD
One of the undeniable appeals of hip-hop is its ability to meld together vastly differing sounds from a varied sonic palette. It's an allure that cannot fail to appeal to all but the most hardened of musical connoisseurs.
Few - other than perhaps RJD2 - match Prefuse 73s talent at nip / tucking from a broad, innovative and unexpected variety of sonic sources. Here we see breaks from folk, post rock, choral, jazz, and too many other musical genres to mention, buttressed together to create an almost overwhelming sonic patchwork of extreme beauty.
The result is an album that, unsurprisingly given Prefuse 73's rapidly established track record, gels impeccably despite its clearly wide-ranging sources. It's no small measure of Scott Herren's ability that he manages to rein in and control a roster of MCs who could clearly demolish all but the best of hip-hop's vanguard.
From the moment that Ghostface And EL-P unravel clusters of spoken word across a relentless undertow of hooks and breaks on 'Hide Ya Face' it's clear we're in for a rollercoaster of edits guaranteed to grip. Head on its heels 'Bad Memory Interlude One' - a trademark Prefuse 73 41 second edit of such sonic elegance that it almost dares you to hit 'repeat' on this one track alone.
Over an action-packed hour, Prefuse 73 cuts, pastes and duplicates with a dextrous touch that is utterly captivating. By the album's subdued close - not least the delicate 'Hide Ya Face Reprise (Reminder Version)' which softens the earlier version's abrasive edges to create a gentle coda - we've come full circle on a memorable musical journey.
It's this ability to wander multiple musical avenues freely, plundering at will, that clearly underlines the fact that there simply aren't that many artists currently operating in this arena who have this clear a grasp of the sonic palette as Prefuse 73. To quote RJD2: "Let the good times roll...".