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17 May, 2005@12:00 am

     Perhaps the only person in the game with more alter-egos than even fellow wild card producer Madlib, Guillermo Scott Herren has dropped two acclaimed albums of his distinctive glitch-hop sound as Prefuse 73, whilst spreading out into traditional Catalan songwriting (as Savath & Savalas) and Rhodes explorations (Piano Overlord), amongst other temporarily discarded directions. This third album fuses that output into the Prefuse sound, and is at once his most accessible and his most wide-ranging yet; it also features a host of collaborators old and new, fellow travellers on a journey of exploratory beauty and guests on what Herren has described as “the radio station in my head.”

     Having paid for the hook-ups out of his own pocket, Herren certainly gets his money’s worth of MCs: honours are mainly split between the Def Jux crew (Camu Tao on the regretful slacker romance of “Now You’re Leaving”, former guest Aesop Rock swearing hilariously at his car on “Sabbatical With Options” and El-P on single “Hide Ya Face”) and Shaolin soldiers, with Ghostface rhyming El-P straight out whilst the more equally matched Masta Killa and GZA rep the Clan over a granite hard boombap break on “Just The Thought”. Beans turns up briefly to vent very graphic sickness; assisting on a track apiece, Herren’s tour DJ Nobody and indie-hopper Pedro also contribute from behind the hip-hop boards, .

     You’re as likely to encounter Tyondai Braxton wailing like a beatboxing monk or sampladelic hobos The Books laying down some banjo for Herren to splice, however, and arguably the album’s high points are those featuring the gorgeous vocals of On!Air!Library!’s delectable Deheza twins, such as “Pastel Assassins”. Yet the beats themselves always retain soul under their twisted gleam, and stay funky despite the fractures. What’s more, at 21 tracks in an hour, something different and surprising is always sliding into view, so leaving the radio dial in Herren’s hands is a no-brainer. Like Aesop says: “I’m going to point you in one direction. All you have to do is go, I’m not even going to steer.” For a summer soundtrack as luminescently romantic as it is brashly invigorating, point yourselves in Herren’s direction.

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