Dancing? You must be listening to Prefuse 73
“Someone call the CMU police, this girl is enjoying herself, she is dancing, please take her out of here...” These were the sarcastic words of Gregg Gillis, known as “Girl Talk,” who opened for Prefuse 73 last Thursday night. This rebellious girl was one of many fans who came to see experimental beat artist Guillermo Scott Herren under the alias of Prefuse 73 (his other aliases include Savath and Savalas, Delarosa and Asora, and Piano Overlord). Prefuse 73 is currently touring with DJ/Knamiproko programmer Ryan Rasheed, who goes by the alias Leb Lase.
Rangos Ballroom was filled with Carnegie Mellon students and Pittsburgh locals who were standing around bobbing their heads and shaking their hips to the ingenious mixing and beats of Prefuse 73. Herren is popular for his unique glitch style, which appeals to both hip-hop and rock audiences. As Peter Marsh’s February 26 article for the BBC said, “[he] turns lyrical flow into abstraction, into something like Kurt Schwitter’s sound poetry or a malfunctioning speech synthesizer. Rhymes are reduced to a collection of plosives, vowels, and half-formed syllables where the power of the original delivery is left intact, but the sense is all but removed; the rap becomes just another component of the music.”
Matt Merewitz, a senior history major, said, “It was good.... He is a sound artist, and what he is doing is basically sonic collages out of any given order, with hip-hop beats to root the crowd every once in a while.” Although most of the crowd was standing in the typical arms-crossed, eyes-fixed-on-the-stage-in-a-trance pose, there were many people who were moving to the beat. There was even some attempted break dancing.
Jamin Warren of Pitchfork Media wrote on February 21, “On record, Prefuse 73 sounds like a cyborg creation caught in a time trap somewhere between the hot buttered soul of the ’70s and the Mantronix-era vintage hip-hop of the mid-1980s.”
Offstage, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell him apart from the rest of the crowd. “They just came out after the show, just like normal people, and stood around like everyone else,” said Camly Tran, a first-year physics major.
In addition to his seemingly infinite amount of projects, Herren has started the Eastern Development Music label, which he describes as being “less concerned with being ‘on some next shit,’ ‘blowing the fuck up,’ or ‘changing the face of anything’ … [and] more concerned with bringing you music we think you’ll feel and understand in the same way we do.”
He is currently based in Barcelona working on several projects, including recording some songs for Spanish director Roger Gual, pre-mastering a full-length record he has recorded over the last year, and writing what he calls his “most ambitious” Savath y Savalas album ever. His next EP, Prefuse Reads the Books, is expected to come out in mid-July. He has a DJ tour in September with his brother, after which he plans to “disappear for a while.” Herren’s description of his DJ tours seems extremely promising: “When I DJ I play whatever the fuck I want, and I want to see people slow dancing like it’s a prom, and everyone should learn to salsa before they come out too.” The tour will definitely provide an amazing show for all of those rebellious fans who like to enjoy themselves.