Prefuse 73, a.k.a Guillermo Scott Herren, has made considerable dents in the music industry since his first release in 2001. His record label, Eastern Developments, is home to a small but innovative collection of artists. Most notable of which being Eliot Lipp, and the delightfully metamorphic Daedelus. He now returns to break the mold once again with his eight release on Warp Records.
Previous Prefuse albums were rife with collaborations of all shapes and sizes, but were mainly in the ilk of hip hop. Artists like MF Doom, and GZA being among the most reputable. The Only She Chapters on the other hand, while garnished with a plethora of contributing artists, is distinctly lacking a hip hop presence. All the vocals and collaborations on this record are from female artists, none of whom are rappers. Which creates a much more effeminate tone than Prefuse fans are used to.
This album is borderline orchestral in style and at times is akin to Sigur Ros. The booming angelic choruses from Faidherbe and Niki Randa are genuinely stirring, while the subtle contribution from neo opera singer Zola Jesus on ‘The Only Direction in Concrete’ transports the listener through an infinite number of galaxies in just under five minutes.
The whole album sounds like the soundtrack to someone’s gradual descent into a sorcerer’s labyrinth, with each track representing a different chamber. Stumbling onwards through the maze reveals tunnel upon tunnel of eerie tones and piercing glitch beats that have can raise hairs. The irksome lure of this labyrinth implores you to continue forward. Only, you get the impression that there’s something quite pleasant waiting for you at the end. There’s somewhat of an uplifting undertone throughout the album that contrasts beautifully with some of it’s more uncanny elements.
The Only She Chapters deviates a great deal from any of Herren’s past works but paves the way for an exploration of a whole new style of electronic music for Herren. As well as differing in content, this release also differs in playability. Attempting to unleash The Only She Chapters in a group setting will more than likely detract from the album. In order to enjoy this record to its full potential you need a dimly lit room and a set of headphones.