Spanish caravan 

Prefuse 73 returns with an otherworldly follow-up

At the ripe old age of 27, Atlanta expatriate Scott Herren is a silent success story. Through his many endeavors -- which often seem too varied to have emerged from the same mind -- he has worked his way into the framework of contemporary music's most adventurous communities. Now residing in Barcelona, Spain, Herren is returning to the U.S. for a tour supporting One Word Extinguisher (Warp), the second full-length release from his Prefuse 73 guise.

For the Atlanta show, Herren's return will certainly be a victorious homecoming. But despite producing his most highly evolved recording to date and securing a spot for himself amongst hip-hop and electronic music's most respected underground artists, Herren is still inclined to let his music do the talking.

From his earliest glitched-out experiments with Delarosa + Asora to the serene soundscapes of Savath + Savalas to the post-hip-hop cut 'n' paste of Prefuse 73, Herren's spacious instrumental sensibilities, expansive rhythms and intelligence link each project to one another.

Through it all, Herren has kept his head down, shifting the attention onto the music itself, rather than on himself. Herren has avoided slapping big glowing photos of himself on his releases, and in doing so has created a "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" aesthetic. As an entity in his own music, Herren remains omnipresent yet not present at all.

"I believe there's an obvious undertone to anyone that feels the need to [pose]," says Herren. "They're hiding something, maybe something they just don't want you to see. Music is the mind of the musician, the face is something else."

Beginning with his 2001 Prefuse 73 debut, Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives, the cast of characters with whom Herren has collaborated is quite impressive. Artists as varied as Mos Def, John Herndon (Tortoise), Mr. Lif., Sam Prekop (the Sea and Cake) and former pro-skater turned musician Tommy Guerrero are a few of the names that have appeared alongside his own. But for Herren, working with such notable acts is just a privilege that comes with his occupation.

"They're just folks I met around the way," Herren says. "We made songs together, drank beers, talked about girls, made beats, made friends, held hands and comforted each other over hot cups of tea. I'm humbled by anyone I work with. They're all so talented and diverse in their own right."

Prefuse 73's Atlanta show kicks off the tour and marks his first live appearance in town since last October -- when he had the misfortune of performing the same night as the like-minded, better-known DJ Shadow across town. "Atlanta has always been either a great or terrible place for me to play," Herren says. "Sometimes things come off really well and sometimes DJ Shadow plays the same day as you."

Shortly before relocating to Spain, Herren played a key role as co-founder of Eastern Developments Music, a locally run label that has released material by jazz, IDM and experimental acts including HuVibrational, Kopernik and Ahmad Szabo. Upcoming releases include material from former Seely guitarist Lori Scacco and a solo project from Prefuse 73 tour DJ/Knamiproko programmer Ryan Rasheed, called Leb Lase.

When asked if making the move to Spain has had an impact on his music, the answer is a partial yes. Herren cites that the upcoming Savath + Savalas record is sung entirely in Castellano and Catalan. But with One Word Extinguisher, it's all a matter of his natural progression as an artist.

"The editing is different, the compositions are more pre-conceived and less frantic," Herren says. "I wanted there to be a linear story from start to finish. Let this one begin where the other one stopped, but no 'part two' shit. I wanted it to go somewhere and take you somewhere else by the end. I'm not done yet."

chad.radford@creativeloafing.com

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