Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian (4.09, Warp)
Byline: Prog Rock as Hip-Hop party mix-tape.
For: Daedelus, El-P, NEU!, Yes
Scott Heron a.k.a Prefuse 73 proves that instrumental hip-hop can take listeners into a different world without the use of Biblically inspired half-tanks-half-armadillos or trite tales of a future society in which music is banned. No where on this album is a made up mythology about a doomed alien race sung in a made up language (I'm looking at you Magma). While it is easy to pick on prog rock, it is even easier to point the finger at electronic producers who put style over substance; who use cheap thrills to replace multi-tracked studio wizardry that pushes the boundaries designed to keep hip-hop, electronic music, and rock and roll in their respective camps. If anyone can jump these fences and propel the mix-tape to the status of an electronic album proper, it is Mr. Heron. I have to admit I have not followed everything that he has done, but what I have dug deeply into Vocal Studies + Uprock and One Word Extinguisher. Everything She Touched... follows a similar trajectory; corralling chopped up wordless vocals, amazing analog produced snippets of elegant instrumentation on top of gritty hip-hop beats, and allowing everything to flow together into a tapestry in which each thread is clearly visible. Prefuse warrants the Prog comparison not only by the shear breadth of musical ideas (29 tracks!) but the desired effect of transportation when the album is listened to as a whole. I applaud Prefuse 73 for making it almost impossible to listen to this album in fragments, most songs clock in at under a minute, save a few stand alone long players. Each fragment is pregnant with countless musical ideas that lesser producers would be happy to churn out 4 minute tracks on. Plus, if Prefuse 73's return isn't enough to go nuts over, Zach Hill does all the live drumming. Living La Vida Loca!