Prefuse 73 has gained something of a reputation that precedes him, known as a quick cut splicemaster, or derisively, the guy who plays with beeps and boops. It is easy for people to fall in love and once again out of love when it comes to Prefuse, as his sound is clearly distinctive; few can cut up tracks as mellow as he can. Prefuse doesn’t chop, doesn’t dice, slice, glitch like bits and pieces of little green onion flying into our ears. His songs sing smoothed over with beats that barely attack despite their violence. Instead they affect softer, gentler, with a flow too slow for hip-hop or rock or even some smooth psych folk; it is something distinctly Prefuse, and its hard to get beyond that.
I’d like to see if I could notice some of the smaller things in his music, some dust in the corner been left unturned and under-investigated to see what traces of Prefuse lay laced in these little bits and pieces.
Speaking of those bits and pieces, the bits and pieces that make up his music, there is a dual function to how these little things work. We may come to think of the cuts and splices that Prefuse uses in his music as pieces of a puzzle, each bit playing its own specific part in a melody, say a chime from a fallen spoon on linoleum floor hitting a high note, then a series of sounds scaling down from there. Certainly, his samples act singularly like that in many of Prefuse’s songs, but there is another way these samples can work. One sample Prefuse may take to place within his puzzle might have its own melody embedded within itself, and this melody can then contribute to the melody Prefuse wishes to make with all of the little singular sounds. The melody within a melody adds another dimension to the Prefuse puzzle, and when we take into account the great number of samples Prefuse uses within the space of one song, the dimensions raise to a space unimaginable for any song to occupy, much less anything, tangible or intangible. These embedded melodies can be played upon themselves, syncopated to change the shape of the song at hand, and…well, imagine for yourself what things end up sounding like then.
When a song traverses such a wide array of samples as does Prefuse’s songs, it seems like that song travels vast distances to cover all the ground covered by all of the contained samples. The song ends up in a different place from where it started, so different that it is sometimes hard to remember what song I am listening to, whether or not the albums gone onto a different track, or if the current song has simply traveled so far with me in tow that when I look out the window of this car, I look behind me to try and see if I might be able to retrace the steps of the song I have traveled with for so long, so far, but what’s been passed in the song is long past, way behind the horizon, so I sit back in the seat I looked out from and continue to ride along this Prefuse 73 song, hand behind my head, resting to the mellow movements.