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Prefuse 73 

With Battles and Beans. Wednesday, May 11, at the Grog Shop.

No, your new Prefuse 73 CD is not skipping. It's just the wizard of schizophrenic enterprise, Scott Herren (who also records as Delarosa & Asora, Savath & Savalas, Piano Overlord, and La Coreccion), flashing his mixing skills. On Prefuse's latest, Surrounded by Silence, Herren scratches and knob-twiddles his way through a back catalog of beats, vocals, and samples, citing more sources than a doctoral dissertation. This time, he also features a laundry list of contemporaries, sidling up next to Aesop Rock, Beans, Broadcast, the Books, Kazu from Blonde Redhead, and more. Their presence is recognizable, in a Cuisinarted-and-sutured-back-together kinda way. With rhyme masters El-P and Ghostface in the limelight, "HideYaFace" is the best hip-hop single released in at least a year, and Masta Killa and GZA's "Just the Thought" follows close behind. Prefuse's friendly alliance of hip-hop with everything else is innovative and addictive. Herren's thoughtful splicing of encyclopedic influences into his own vision makes him one of the most talented, forward-thinking artists around.

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