Review Summary: Keeping with his new direction Herren brings more electronic and ambient style grooves.
One of the hardest things to do in any profession, let alone in music is to stay consistent. Scott Herren has been plagued with this problem under his alias Prefuse 73. His debut ‘Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives’ would become an entirely mediocre album, bringing absolutely nothing new to the table. Later his sophomore effort showed a dramatic improvement. ‘One Word Extinguisher’ mixed standalone electronic beats and hip-hop guest spots sporadically throughout. His string of EPs that would follow really didn’t do anything to impress or enhance this at all. He instead relied on his early ‘quick cuts’ of distorted vocals with dull atmospheres. Thankfully, his release of ‘Preparations’ in 2007 was excitingly good. ‘Preparations’ offered electronic substance over hip-hop guest spots, something that would work with great success throughout the album. Enter 2009 and we see Herren bringing us a lengthy new album called ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’. Unlike his earlier work where he relied on his electronic talent while mixing hip-hop vocalists ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’ brings his previous incarnation in ‘Preparations’ to the forefront once again.
With a total of 29 tracks it would seem that this album would be a huge ordeal to listen through in one sitting. That claim would be surprisingly false considering Herren mixes many interludes and intro tracks to introduce the core tracks within the album. ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’ only contains 8 tracks that hover over the 2 minutes over a 29 track journey which will tell us one thing: Herren wants this to be quick and painless. It’s exactly that; the album breezes through making a few stops to establish the lengthier ones. This breaks the album quite a bit since he doesn’t offer anything for us to cling on too. This double-edge sword does have its positives; without the lengthy tracks we are so accustomed to in the past by Herren the album takes a fairly easy ride throughout and when we do actually have tracks that break the 2 minute mark they are merely enhanced because of the lack of depth. When I say depth, I don’t mean that this album doesn’t have diversity I’m stating the quick and overly abundant 1 minute tracks feel like they lack identity.
Each track has various aspects within each other that would seem unmemorable because of their length, but instead ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’ seems to thrive on it. One by one each different beat and small one-line vocal performances that are neither memorable nor dull chug through this album with ease. This is the main problem with Prefuse 73’s latest addition; the album itself doesn’t offer any key tracks to hold on too. “Regato” would seem to be the best track with the little time the album goes through towards it, the acoustic guitar strums and Latin style atmosphere is by far the best moment within the album. “Natures Uplifting Revenge” is a beautiful, short, harmonized performance over a good electronic background that stays the same without much change. This would seem to be the trend throughout the album; every short track includes electronic substance with various different instruments varied within it, making it less concise and less note worthy. Within most of the tracks there is some type of vocal performance that is muddled or on repeat, only solidifying its consistency for that one track. ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’ really isn’t an album with stand-out tracks that will carry it; instead each track holds it together. The short song length only glues the album together. ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’ isn’t an album you’ll be yearning for; instead it will be something to relax too. The electronic textures, lack of lyrical content, and constant repetition will help you ease through it. If you loved Prefuse 73’s earlier work (Pre-‘Preparations’) than you will be in for a rude awakening, not to say it was already hinted at before, but Herren seems to be treading towards a more of an ambient, electronic style that suits him well.