Review Summary: Another world, distilled
Prefuse 73’s One Word Extinguisher
plays out a little like the little brother of DJ Shadow’s Entroducing…..
It’s briefer and with a shorter attention span, as evidenced by its 23 songs with an average length of less than 3 minutes each. It’s more playful, with weird, wacky chords floating around in a way that’s very much unlike Shadow’s army of samples and their sparse, cooling notes. It’s discovered some different drugs, too - the whole thing seems more along the lines of shrooming than blazing, and its brilliantly psychedelic chords function as a sort of transport to another world instead of taking a different spin on the landscape Endtroducing…..
inhabits. And, unfortunately, it’s simply younger
than Shadow’s masterpiece. In its whimsical, ADHD-laden approach, it lacks the cohesion and, frankly, maturity of Shadow’s wonderful coloring of sample after sample, and as a result it doesn’t quite succeed on the same level.
and One Word Extinguisher
, by this token, are still part of the same family, and their shared surname is “utterly fu
cking fantastic.” Because, for all its shortcomings (of which there are few), Prefuse 73 has created a phenomenal take on glitch and trip hop, and its staggering sonic palate is proof enough of its mastery. Prefuse 73 almost carelessly tosses bleep after glitch after distortion onto his recordings, and almost surprisingly the result finds itself as a close-knit, almost avant-garde take on a time when you can do literally anything with the sounds you create. “Choking You” is a prime example of the core of the album, with its ghostly staccato chords falling around a musing bassline and somehow-not-obnoxious bleepy synth riffs. The overall effect turns out to be one of demented brilliance: Prefuse 73’s difficult yet supremely chilled soundscape reveals an immensely rewarding experience, as the painstaking care in distorting every sound perfectly ends up crafting the perfect blend of summer, dystopian, and relaxed atmospheres. The thread of pristine, glassy beats and chords tying the whole thing together demonstrates just how good
this thing is.
What’s most remarkable about One Word Extinguisher
is how fresh and new it still feels after ten years. Though it came out in 2003, its innovative take on glitch hop and its uniquely schizophrenic and distorted focus on making high-quality compositions continue to establish the album as a foundational and necessary release in the world of electronic music. Pushing boundaries into much the same place they are today (which is either high praise for Prefuse or an indictment of the state of the electronic music in 2013), Prefuse 73 proved his salt admirably here, and the result of his efforts is one of the most wonderful and underrated releases in the deep history of Warp Records and a centerpiece in the evolution of instrumental hip-hop.