Glitchy, Innovative Work of Art
Producer Scott Herron has multiple side projects, most of which are very ambitious, but the most interesting is probably Prefuse 73, the moniker under which he released 2003’s One Word Extinguisher and 2007’s Preparations. Now, four years after the last album, The Only She Chapters, Prefuse 73 has released Rivington Não Rio, a stuttering patchwork of rhythms, genres, and lyrics that is truly satisfying to listen to. It is common for artists to create music that is technically beautiful but falls flat upon listening, but this is not the case with Prelude 73’s newest release.
The album begins with an intro titled “Senora 95,” and is truly a work of art. It has enough fullness of sound to conjure images, and sets a great tone for the rest of the album. Though it is a bit of an anomaly on the track list, leading with this song is the right decision. It is both short and different; it would feel wrong anywhere else.
Most of Rivington Não Rio consists of tracks like “Applauded Assumptions” and “Jacinto Lyric Range.” They are stuttering, manic, glitchy tracks that have true momentum. Occasionally, in songs like these, one can almost here Aphex Twin and other greats. Thankfully, Prelude 73 often works in elements of other genres, which breaks up any monotony and really makes this album art. He even brings in some rap. The latter track mentioned, for example, is incredibly gritty and if it weren’t for the underlying synth and its major key, it might verge into drum and bass territory.
Herron’s best moments are the ones where he plays with every option available to him. “Through a Lit and Darkened Path” heavily features both violins and what sounds like a 90s dial-up connection. It is a journey; the track is just under seven minutes long and each second of that time feels necessary. Serving as a contrast to his scattered and stuttering rhythms is “Quiet One (feat. Rob Crow),” with its semi-smooth production and vocals that venture into almost R&B territory. Underneath the vocals is an ever-present, ever-changing rhythm that permeates the entire album. However, both songs that feature artists (“Quiet One”, “Infrared [feat. Sam Dew]”, “140 Jabs Interlude [feat. Milo, Busdriver]”) are considerably more relaxed than the others (barring the intro). They make for lovely, needed breaks for the listener.
This is an unflinching album. It does not shy away from risks and is incredibly interesting lyric, production, and concept-wise. Though it may not know exactly where it is going, the movement of the piece is marvelous. It begins decisively and though it takes very appropriate breaks, it does not stop for long until it seems to fade into the distance at the close of “Open Nerve Farewell,” a truly essential track.