Music Reviews
One Word Extinguisher

Prefuse 73 One Word Extinguisher

(Warp) Rating - 8/10

The trouble with being an innovator is that unless you continue to innovate, people are going to be disappointed, unfair as it might sound. Listening to Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives, the first album by the Atlanta-based Scott Herron, was less like being slapped in the face by a wet fish than being flattened by a blue whale - like most good ideas, it seems amazing that no-one ever thought to cut up such a cut-heavy genre as hip hop in the way that drill n' bass pioneers mangled techno, but that's the reason why we laud such adventurers - they take the step that was previously unimagined but that makes such perfect sense that you couldn't imagine why it had never happened before.

But can Prefuse 73 redeliver? This new album's opener (after the intro), The End of Biters, doesn't so much kick down the door as demolish the whole street - play it at full volume and you can get a feel of how the end of the world might sound. Plastic matches the ante with a more traditional (but no less incendiary) vocal from Diverse, before the album settles into a more jazz-funk orientated direction. The much-emulated, never bettered sound of the early Mo Wax releases (see the original Headz compilation and the early Shadow/Groove Robbers cuts) is evoked here in a playful, musical equivalent of Tourettes-syndrome; everywhere, as with early DJ Shadow cuts like In/Flux, you get the sense that Prefuse 73 doesn't need to milk a good sample to death, but rather has so many ideas that the album can hardly contain them. The album flows like De La's 3 Feet High and Rising, with each track revealing new stylistic bursts (soul into choral chants on Dave's Bonus Beats; the disco spasms of Detchibe; the beatbox-backed euphoria of Busy Signal - one of the highlights - and the beatific title track).

Perversely, the album loses points due to the length: there are at least 5 tracks too many (out of 21), and if some of the more generic or disposable tracks (such as the later tracks 90% of My Mind is With You, Huevos With Jeff and Roni and Female Demands) had been kept off of the album their absence would have made for a more satisfying whole. However, even though the last fifth of the album, excepting the metallic lurch of Choking You and the hypnotising vocal repetitions of Styles That Fade Away With a Collonade Reprise, is largely disposable, 16 good tracks (plus the amazing hidden 23rd track, wherein acoustic guitar is interspersed with staccato female jolts) equals an album by an artist that you'll be claiming you heard of long before you actually did, so start revising now before people start telling you what I'm telling you now - that if you give a damn about hip hop you need to hear this...