Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian
With 29 tracks zipping by in 48 minutes, Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian never lets you relax or get too familiar with any one cut. If earthlings are going to continue to be afflicted with diminishing attention spans, then Prefuse 73 (aka Guillermo Scott Herren, man of many pseudonyms) is going to tailor his music to those circumstances. Or maybe he suffers from ADHD himself. Whatever the case, Prefuse has forged another whirlwind opus of jagged head-nodders and disorienting ambient interludes, opting to go the instrumental route this time rather than dealing with the logistics of corralling egotistical MCs, as he did on his underrated 2005 gem Surrounded by Silence.
While Ampexian—Prefuse's fifth album proper—rates among his best, it has the air of a producer operating on cruise control. Despite album artwork that recalls Roger Dean's Yes covers, Ampexian isn't trad prog rock, but rather more quick-cut glitch funk on which Prefuse has built his rep—and which influenced Flying Lotus and his "wonky" ilk.
This time, though, Prefuse has gone the analog route; there might be slightly more of analog's vaunted "warmth" in the sound, but Prefuse's style is so strongly imprinted that knowing his methodology changes little in how you react to his music.
Disembodied voices have long played a key role in Prefuse's sound, and on Ampexian they continue to haunt the peripheries and sometimes the foreground of his psychedelic productions. Occasionally these mostly uncredited vocalists carry the melody, but more often they serve as auxiliary percussion tics or atmospheric coloring. "Regalo" is an exception, a beautiful, gently strummed acoustic guitar commingling with a diaphanous female vocal (evoking Broadcast's Trish Keenan) over rumbling kettledrum beats. And "Digan Lo" thrusts the Beach Boys into the 21st century as effectively as Panda Bear did on Person Pitch. Another memorable joint is "Four Reels Collide," which loops the cowbell from the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" over a strange mélange of voices and a sludge-hop rhythm.
If Ampexian has a problem, it's that few tracks stick in the mind; they sound great while they're playing, but typically fade from memory once the album's over. You're more dazzled by Herren's technical wizardry than you are moved emotionally. Still, if you like Prefuse 73, you will enjoy Ampexian; if you're not into his twitchy, ectoplasmic beat science, this record won't convert you.