Sometimes artists are so prolific it’s frightening. Guillermo Scott Herren (a.k.a. Prefuse 73) will release three albums and an EP in a six-week span this spring. Each one is produced under a different moniker and exists in a universe of its own. One of the LPs, Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian, is the fifth album for Herren’s most notable musical incarnation, Prefuse 73.
Everything She Touched squashes 29 tracks of keyboard riffs, drum-machine skiffs, street sounds, outer-space funk, and random voices into just 48 minutes. Sound pastiche on this scale would normally be a surefire digital effort. But to his credit, Prefuse 73 bucks the current trend and goes all analog. The profligate use of Ampex tape lends the album its name as well as the warm texture to the sound.
With savvy cover art by Dan McPharlin, Everything She Touched is an invitation for an intergalactic jaunt. But on many tracks, by the time a vocal sinks in or a beat materializes, Prefuse 73 is taking off on another trip. More continuity (11 tracks clock in at under a minute) here would go a long way. While it isn’t quite attention-deficit-disorder-beat a la Girltalk, it’s also far from the layered glitch funk of Prefuse 73’s career-defining debut, Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives.
The sticky funk and boom-bap bass of “Oh Is It,” “Whipcream Eyepatch,” and “Half Up Front” wouldn’t have missed a beat on Dilla’s Donuts (2006). These are golden, sample-ready nuggets, and there are many more to be found. But it’s when Prefuse 73 spaces it out with layered vocals, like on “Digan Lo,” that the Ampex magic comes through.
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian is supposed to sound like a DJ set from an extra-terrestrial, but it often comes off as a random smattering of thoughts from an over-stimulated producer. Prefuse 73 will never be blamed for a lack of ideas, but here’s one he should consider: Expand these snippets into longer songs.