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Prefuse 73 

Security Screenings (Warp)

Inspired by the suspicion with which airport employees treat him, Security Screenings finds Prefuse 73 (aka Guillermo Scott Herren) honing his jagged dynamics and Cubist derangements of hip-hop's blueprint to a military crispness. Similarly, his hyperkinetic drum programming keeps you perpetually alert, as it rarely settles into predictable patterns. Which is why Prefuse remains an underground figure, despite working with Wu-Tang members Ghostface and GZA on his last album, 2005's Surrounded by Silence. Most heads still ain't ready for the advanced science Prefuse is dropping.

Where Security Screenings breaks from Prefuse's past is in the infusion of wistful, slowly decaying tunes reminiscent of Boards of Canada. These mutated melodies soften his angular rhythms and strident tones, though the change doesn't come off as compromising. In fact, with its dearth of rapping, Screenings has less chance of crossing over to mainstream radio than did Silence. Exemplifying Prefuse's refusal to retract his maverick tendencies is the Four Tet collaboration, "Creating Cyclical Headaches," in which madly distorted, Terry Riley-style keyboard flourishes cycle over a surprisingly conventional boom-bap. Screenings is essentially another forum for Prefuse to flex his jittery-glittery and spazzy-jazzy production skills, which remain more nimble and compelling than those of most players in the game today.

More by Dave Segal

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