Friday, January 15, 2010

Prefuse 73- Vocal Studies+ Uprock Narrative

    So here we are, at day fifteen, halfway through this project, and still miles away from St. Alfonso’s legendary pancake breakfast. Grabbed this record from Every Bunny Nestle, another one of the great and supportive blogs I’ve found along the way, and realized how perfectly it fits as the mid-point milestone: track nine, “Last Light” features Sam Prekop of The Sea and Cake [review #3 ], and “Blacklist” has guest vocals from Aesop Rock [review #4]. However, this won’t solely fulfill my need to derive artificial nostalgia from something that’s barely two weeks old. Vocal Studies + Uprock Narrative falls into a genre both alien to this blog, and mostly unmined by yours truly.

    The aforementioned genre is what’s known as IDM, or Intelligent Dance Music. Such nomenclature rightly places a divide between this “smart” dance music, and the rest of the insipid garbage. But this is both a blessing and curse, because when a whole genre is out to prove something, it not only reacts in contrast, but becomes one-dimensional. Good thing Prefuse 73, AKA Guillermo Scott Herren, is less concerned with letting everyone know how cool he is, and more interested in groove. Rather than the Aphex Twin knob twiddling weirdness, Prefuse finds an easy-going balance between organic bounce, and inorganic interruptions, rounded out with some of the “vocal studies” mentioned earlier, from Aesop Rock, MF Doom, and Mikah 9.

    Boot-stomping intro “Radio Attack” sets the precedent with never-sit-still drums and a constantly evolving and seemingly bottomless sample cache. The occasional unrecognizable rap sample leaks in, either taking hold of the beat, or slithering by underneath at, adding an all-too-absent human element. Mikah 9 transfuses “Life/Death” with a high-speed dose of the former, but the real pièce de résistance is “Blacklist”, where Doom and Aesop take Prefuse’s haymaker drum machines and hitch them to a buggy on the way to the sun. As if their performance wasn’t impressive enough, Doom reminds listeners “keep in mind this flow is used for practice, even so it’s still top-choice on the tracklist”.

    For anyone curious about electronic music, this is a fantastic album for expanding your horizons. There’s not a bad track on here. But as someone who craves a gritty, no-budget EP, IDM can sometimes feel empty and soul-dead. Prefuse manages to put enough heart in to impress ‘crossover’ fans, but this probably won’t get many more listens from me.

Vocal Studies + Uprock Narrative

No comments:

Post a Comment