Warp – 2001 – 50 minutes

This may be a Warp release and the group's name may be representatively obscure for the UK electronic label, but expectations should end there. Sure there are analogue undercurrents and sonic flourishes typical of Warp, but if the overall sound is affiliated to any genre, it's straight up hip-hip. This one-man operation has its roots Stateside as Prefuse beat-peddlar Scott Herren works in Atlanta.

Having previously released albums under various guises (Savath & Savalas, Delaro Asora), Herren's musical output has been of dervish-like proportions. The S&S project occupied the electronic realm, while the former was a riot of roots influences. 'Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives' comfortably straddles both genres pinning down hip-hop rhymes and not letting them get away.

The four tracks on his debut ep 'Estrocaro' are reproduced here, nestling neatly between newer tracks. The vocal tracks are the album's strong point, most notably Mikah 9's lyrical acrobatics on 'Life Death'. The sublimely chilled 'Back In Time' is a hewn highlight clocking in at just over 2 minutes of perfection. Sam Prekop of post-modern musos The Sea and The Cake makes 'Last Night' sound like robotic lounge music.

Prefuse 73 offers low-phat hip-hop and diet electro blended into a pleasantly digestible musical smoothie. If comparisons can be drawn, Herren could pass this endeavour off as Plaid infiltrating Blackalicious, but with more organics and less Cubase. Not quintessential hip-hop, not uber-electro, but a damn fine median.

Sinéad Gleeson

Tracklisting: Radio Attack – Nuno – Life Death W/Mikah 9 – Smile In Your Face – Point To B – Five Minutes Away – Living Life – Eve Of Dextruction – Last Night – Cliché Intro – Back In Time – Hot Winter's Day – Black List – Untitled – Afternoon – 7th Message