Prefuse 73
One Word Extinguisher

By Gavin Weale

So what were we meant to expect after Scott Herren’s debut LP as Prefuse, Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives, cut hip hop to shreds and reassembled it as a whibbling staccato collage of exhilarating electronic frug? More shuddering rapping, decimated by Herren’s ever-capable scissorhands? A folktronical tangent back into Savvath & Savalas territory?

Whatever the expectations, Herren has delivered. One Word Extinguisher is an absolute triumph of cut’n’paste from a man whose studio must be like a fifth limb, such is the fluency of the production. The archetypal Ninja Tune-style philosophy of cut’n’thrust seems like Old Testament against this gospel. It puts DJ Shadow into the shade. It’s non-linear, it’s got more samples than a sperm-donor clinic, and it’s so tidily and seamlessly blended that it’s sometimes hard to see where the live instruments end and the programming begins. The tracks are more like vignettes, but despite this brevity manage to amply communicate the full weight of Herren’s genius feel for melody and off-kilter grind (check Uprock and Invigorate and Detchibe for Herren’s nu hip-hop tempo). Not only that, but the idiosyncratic interludes and sheer range of sounds combine to start each track in one place, but end them somewhere quite different. Busy Signal is as close to a ‘banger’ as Prefuse has made, while Dave’s Bonus Beats could be an anthem.

The LP may go on a little longer than it should (which seems to be a feature of a few Warp albums of late, ie Geogaddi). But even so, this album eclipses Uprock for its sheer quality, and only elevates Herren’s status as a producer with his sampler set to stun.
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