Change is Beautiful


The Only She Chapters

Prefuse 73

Release Date: Apr 26, 11

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Prefuse 73 has done more musically in the last ten years than many predecessors and contemporaries combined. Or at least it seems that way. After seven full length albums and scores of all-star collaborations, crossing genres, covering huge tours, Prefuse 73 returns with something different.

At some point or another, many successful artists—especially ones who defy a genre—or who have been known to engulf several genres, take what is usually called a departure from their previous work and present their audience with something new. It’s difficult to point out musicians who’ve failed in such endeavors, as any endeavor into an unknown territory is a success in itself. Whether their audiences buy it, whether physically buy it or, buy into it, is another story.

However, fans of Prefuse 73 would be hard pressed not to buy into what Guillermo Scott Herren has accomplished on his eighth full-length album, The Only She Chapters. After recently working with the Polish Ausko Orchestra, Herren did the natural thing and focused on modern composition.

The title refers to there being only female guest vocalists on the album. And when vocalists do appear, each has their own sonic mise-en scene, which gives a unique presence for these proven artists, and shows Herren’s knack for selecting quintessential songstresses for this body of work. And the way these vocal tracks are spaced out on The Only She Chapters gives the album a slow-motion, pulsating depth. In between are masterfully crafted compositions that use instrumental and electronic elements very courageously in their patience and subtle patterns of inverting and warping of rhythm.

There’s buzzing, there’s light scratching, tapping, plenty of backwards sound effects. And because each and every track is finely tailored down to each tiny blip and blurp, that which would be chaos comes off as nothing but control. The loops never get too fancy. The back beats don’t rush to the front. Nothing feels unnatural. One factor in this must be how the tone never strays from one degree to another. But it doesn’t sound like a single song stretched out over 18 tracks. No one song stands out, either. And this is not a bad thing for an album such as this. It would be unfair to say that they all stand out, as there are certain moments that stand out more than others. Yet, these contrasting moments are surely relative to several listening experiences.

Of course, you can’t please everyone. There will be those who were hoping to dance and will be disappointed that they won’t be dancing to this record. But even the most novice Prefuse 73 fan can hear that this is not so much a departure from the catalog, but Herren has only evolved into a new direction. How could one not appreciate that?