Meditation Upon Meditations (The Japanese Diaries)
(2009, Beat Records)
RIYL = Bibio, Flying Lotus, Ras G
Guillermo Scott Herren, the mastermind behind Prefuse 73 (among others), has already dropped two albums under the pseudonym this year; the sprawling hyperactive Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian and the mini LP addendum, The Forest Of Oversensitivity. So, I think it is fair to say that Meditation Upon Meditations is an unexpected release. Even more unexpected is its current distribution in Japan only. Now, some might see this information and discard the album as an insignificant dumping of accumulated b-sides; you know, one of those non-essential releases that only completist Prefuse-heads need worry about. Those who make that assumption would be wrong. In fact, it appears that Mr. Herren’s love for Japan exceeds that of the States because Meditation Upon Meditations is the best Prefuse 73 release since One Word Extinguisher. No joke. For this release, Herren avoids the quick snippet, mixtape form of Ampexian in favor of fuller compositions ranging from the three to four minute range and that additional time is Herren’s best weapon. Crouching down in the uber-crowded assemblages, something that has become synonymous with Prefuse 73, Herren's work comes off more complete and the beats and plundered electronics become more grounded. Herren has a way of multilayering beats to oblivion, but still making it sound coherent, and this is explicitly apparent on Mediation Upon Meditations. In the past, Herren used the relief of an occasional MC spot to allow for some breathing room amongst the rubbery bombast, and that is my only wish here. However, even without any guest MCs, Herren performs blissfully, compiling a minced vocal pie amidst the bouncy ball blips and beats. If you have ever had a leaning towards Prefuse 73’s work, it will behoove you to search this album out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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