Prefuse 73 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Electronic-music producer Prefuse 73, born Scott Herren, was raised in Atlanta and currently lives in Barcelona; his moniker refers to one of his favorite sample sources--prefusion jazz recorded before 1973. On 2001's Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives (Warp), he devised a mutant hip-hop in which rap vocals were merged with the other instruments in the mix, the voice becoming just one rhythmic element among many. On last year's The 92 vs. 02 Collection, he created tracks from funky beatbox snippets ("Desks.Pencils.Bottles"), pig latin MC boasts ("When Irony Wears Thin"), and breakbeats, gleaming acoustic guitar, and cut-up female vocals ("Love You Bring"). The new One Word Extinguisher is more fractured than his earlier work, both sonically (the core bits of each song are treated and processed more heavily) and structurally (the songs are shorter and there are more of 'em). "Uprock and Invigorate" is a melange of bubbly synthetic textures--reedy bass line, zooming synths, glossy electric piano--over electronically modified hand claps that sound like someone biting a cracker. "Why I Love You," "The Color of Tempo," and "Styles That Fade Away With a Collonade--Reprise" isolate and reconfigure snippets of female vocals--sometimes a syllable, sometimes an entire line--to create odd but alluring tapestries. "The End of Biters--International" cuts up a female rap vocal in a manner that suggests DJ Shadow's more bully-boy moments, while the stiff yet funky bass and beats of "Detchibe" add up to an odd but appealing marriage of laptop glitch and new-jack swing. Sometimes Prefuse goes for laughs, as on "Southerners--Interlude," a 30-second hayseed gag, but more often he achieves a dreamy feel, even when rappers Diverse (on "Plastic") and Mr. Lif (on "Huevos With Jeff and Roni") show up to add a little gravity to the proceedings. Plaid headlines; the Warp DJs open. Thursday, March 27, 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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