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April 27, 2009 | by  | in Music |
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Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian (Warp)

Prefuse 73, aka Guillermo Scott Herren is one of those strange artists who exists in a world where genres overlap and attitudes towards the creation of music are strictly postmodern. His superb One Word Extinguisher is now widely recognised as being the gold standard for instrumental hip-hop albums, alongside DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing and Rjd2’s Deadringer. On Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian Herren has managed to construct something that is almost as compelling as that breakthrough work. In saying that, the two albums are quite different sonically. Where One Word Extinguisher was all about demonstrating the potential of relentless digital splicing in the new millennium, Ampexian is all about appreciating the joys of analogue sound. In fact, the album’s name is derived from the type of magnetic tape that Herren recorded on to.

For an album that is really more of a collection of fragments and interludes (21 of the 29 tracks are less than 2 minutes long), Ampexian is a remarkably smooth listen, thanks primarily to its bright melodies, which are consistently compelling, regardless of their brevity. In fact, Herren could easily have recorded Ampexian as one track and I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Like any great production job, it’s often impossible to discern which instrumental pieces have been built from scratch, and which are compiled from found sounds. It’s a heady, beguiling mix, and it’s very pleasant on the ears in a relaxing sort of way. That isn’t to say that this is ambient music though, Herren’s production has always been far too busy for that, but on Ampexian he achieves a degree of warmth and melodic lightness that does at times recall the casual moogy aesthetics found on Air’s best work.

Herren has a great talent for melding short, wordless vocal loops into his colorful backing tracks in order to create comforting, if unusual, sonic dreamscapes. To top it all off, everything is drenched in the kind of happy analogue fuzz that’s reminiscent of the feeling of pleasantness one might experience when waking up after a hard night out to find that your flatmate has cooked you breakfast and poured you a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. Just like a caring flatmate (or a well prepared eggs benedict); an album as comforting as Herren’s is easy to appreciate. I can easily picture Ampexian getting played on Sunday mornings with a pretty high degree of frequency this winter. Now, will someone please pass the hollandaise sauce?

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  1. A curious kweschun says:

    Where’s captain intense when you need him?

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