Prefuse 73 Security Screenings

[Warp; 2006]

Styles: hip-hop, glitch-hop
Others: Madlib, Savath + Savalas, Delarosa & Asora, Dabrye

If nothing else, Scott Herren is prolific. In a little over four years, he has released four official full-length albums and two EPs - one as a solo artist and one in collaboration with The Books. And that's only counting his output under his Prefuse 73 moniker. If you include the work he's done under the names Savath + Savales, Delarosa & Asora, or Piano Overlord, the numbers are staggering. It seems only fitting that a man so innovative with his sound(s) and persona(e) should want to help champion a new format - the mini album.

Situated somewhere between the EP and the LP, the mini album might be perceived as an attempt to skirt the heavier expectations put on a full-length effort, while not quite diminishing the release to the status of something extra being tacked on to a discography. Whatever the true intent, Security Screenings offers a slightly abbreviated (clocking in at just under 40 minutes) session with everyone's favorite avant-garde hip hop maestro, and a worthwhile one at that. As his past few releases have been tied heavily to collaborative work, it's nice to get a chance to spend some alone time with him.

For this intimate rendezvous, Herren has actually cooked up a brilliantly soothing and entertaining morsel for his fans, which in many ways is a more restrained Prefuse 73 effort - although not quite as subdued as Reads the Books. "With Dirt and Two Texts - Afternoon Version" sets a course of (relatively) smoother sailing with its slightly slowed-down tempo and calming regularity of scanning noises that sound as if they could have been sampled from a security device of some sort (or at least a photocopier). Though messier and funkier, "Mud in Your Mouth" still exudes an undeniably casual contentedness. The interludes sprinkled throughout are fun and silly, in the hip-hop tradition, and "Illiterate Interlude" offers a particularly reflective bit of humor, letting you know that Prefuse is not above reproach. Even the two tracks that do feature outside collaborators play it very cool, with the Four Tet co-production "Creating Cyclical Headaches" allowing Herren some skronky bursts of distorted organ while Kieran Hebden holds the groove down with a solid beat and typically whimsical fluttering melody - creating a rich and beautiful centerpiece for this mini.

While Herren assures his fans that the next true Prefuse album will be out in no time, the fact that it will be in collaboration with John Stanier of Battles signals that it will likely be a more schizophrenic and angular affair. With that in mind, the calming introspection of Security Screenings seems only appropriate.

1. The Letter "P"
2. With Dirt and Two Texts-Afternoon Version
3. Illiterate Interlude
4. Keeping Up With Your Quota
5. No Special Bed
6. Weight Watching
7. When The Grip Lets You Go
8. Always It's Gonna Be Like That
9. Creating Cyclical Headaches (with Four Tet)
10. Awakening To A..

11. With Dirt And Two Texts-Later Version With Love
12. No Origin
13. One Star And Three Stripes
14. Mud in Your Mouth
15. Breathe
16. Matrimonioids (For: Elvin + Susana Estela)
17. We Leave You In A Cloud Of Thick Smoke And Sleep Outro (featuring Tunde from TV On The Radio)