Prefuse 73 - Forsyth Gardens EP

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:6.5 Release Date:2015-04-28

Guillermo Scott Herren, after a four-year break, is releasing a bunch of new material under his flagship Prefuse 73 name in 2015. The first EP, Forsyth Gardens, is a nice, bite-size morsel, teasing the full-length due in mid-May.

The set starts out strong with 'Hustle', a cool little intro track previewing what's to come (hint: Herren's trademark hip-hop-flavored electronica) leading into a remix of 'Infrared' from the upcoming album. This gently reassembled piece, full of slow-rolling waves of bass mixed with clicks and clatters, is boosted by guest vocalist Sam Dew's pitch-perfect R&B vocals.

It's followed up by 'You Are Now Poison', which leads with vibrating electro-drippiness before turning on what become recurring themes: a combination of clapping, snapping percussion and either smashed and stretched or blipping and blooping synths. The next song, 'Ages Upon Ages Upon You', uses most of the same tools, losing the drips and throwing in some chopped-up vocal bits. 'Genderations' adds cut-up female vocals to the male ones, and gets a bit spacier with some of the effects, but sounds essentially like a third iteration of the same idea.

'Still Pretending' breaks out of the mould a bit, going deeper with the bass and eliminating most of the circular, gearlike feeling of the beats showcased in the previous tracks. 'Sunday Service' chops up the vocals a little less and stretches out the synths a little more, but it's otherwise more of the same.

'What They Got?' swings out into IDM territory with the electronics, getting more intricate in places and then dropping most of the beats and drifting off for its closing. The album closes with 'Sará Teflón', a much quieter and more reflective piece than the rest of the set, with everything down in the mix except the bass, which drives the song slowly along before it hits a piano breakdown halfway through and sinks down into the void.

This is good music, but it's fairly repetitive, and it's a struggle to distinguish one song from the next, or even know when one song has ended and the next has begun. Fans should be pleased, and novices should enjoy it as well, but it's not groundbreaking, and lacks any standout tracks.

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