Listening to Prefuse 73’s Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian is like putting your brain in a musical room of spinning mirrors. This release takes the listener on a startling trip full of sudden stops and subtle direction changes that somehow still gets you to a destination, albeit an unknown one.
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian is organized chaos, and Herren controls the fits and starts of the album like some sort of Ritalin-deprived broadcaster. The album contains 29 separate tracks that flow seamlessly, and they influence each other exponentially.
The man behind the madness, Guillermo Scott Herren, utilized analog tape to cerebrate the recording process. In contrast to the cut-and-paste style of straight digital recording, Herren’s method required more focus and thought to achieve wholeness. The album proves that analog is still a worthy adversary to digital, as the medium has now become an entirely separate form of expression.
Among the rapidly changing landscape of the album, you’ll hear everything from 8-bit electronics to high-powered hip hop, abstract blobs of sound, acoustic tones, big block-rocking beats, unearthly computer sounds, and psychedelic flourishes. It’s like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, J Dilla, Battles, and Avalanches held a listening party with their own records all playing, stopping, and re-starting at once.
It’s nearly impossible to separate the tracks into individual creations, because all 29 of them dovetail into an artistic whole. This is for the best, because the album definitely has a severe case of ADD. To attempt to place one “section” above or below another in terms of listenability or catchiness would be futile.
Taken out of context, the songs provide only fleeting moments of enjoyment. You can pick a flower in order to place it on a pedestal, but it is inevitably going to die without its other parts. A lovably demented creation like “Preparation Kids’ Choir” seems woefully inconsequential when plucked from the album’s intricate web of sound.
Most of the memorable moments are mere flashes of transition, like the uplifting “Periodic Measurements of Infrequent Frowns,” which encompasses only 36 seconds. The liquid rhythm of “Hairy Faces (Stress)” is equally appealing, but also equally brief. The album’s constantly shifting beats make for jangled nerves after the novelty of the first couple of listens wears off.
One track, the moody album-closing “Formal Dedications,” manages to stand alone. Based on a jazzy bass line and punctuated with wildly varying sounds, it serves as a moody, reflective outro to the disorienting experience of the album.
Perhaps the album is an apt representation of our nation’s truncated attention spans, but it’s just as likely that Herren simply chose to do whatever he felt – after all, his music has evolved as quickly as the means by which we hear it. Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian is a fun, timely diversion but it hardly has the lasting impact of a truly great album.
Rating: 6.9 out of 10
Here’s a YouTube of “Digan Lo” – not really a video but a nice audio clip: