On 2009’s Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian, Prefuse 73’s Guillermo Scott-Herren spanned 29 earthy tracks to deliver one of the freshest sounding electronic albums of that year. Songs like “No Lights Still Rock” bounced with splashing energy and playful tones that highlighted a banner year for the music producer/musician. The sounds he created were memorable and it aided in reaching an epic high. For his new album, The Only She Chapters, Scott-Herren has scaled back the overall amount of songs in favor of a thickening new sound and on a blissful fusion of layers, it makes for a terrific listen.
Where as songs like the aforementioned “No Lights Still Rock” were built around a stomping beat-heavy session, songs like “The Only Serenidad” travel through an ambient tunnel of sounds where everything is happening around us, rather than within. Even on “The Only Valentine’s Day Failure,” the emphasis lies more on the melancholy harmonies than on the thumping beat. While this may or may not be a conscious decision, it causes for a lot of the songs to vanishingly pass by. There’s a great deal of reflective beauty in this new direction but it’s definitely not Ampexian Part Two.
And as on “The Only Trial of 9000 Suns,” the music’s meditative loops drive the ulterior sounds into something vast and all-encompassing. Rather than simply getting lost in a wave of sound, Scott-Herren takes the outer walls and stretches them within the loop he’s created. It’s fitting that “The Only Way to Find” would follow with even deeper layered vocals and far more pensive moments. But that’s the main focus on The Only She Chapters, the heady and space-y time lost that nostalgia can have on us and how nothing else seems to come into focus. Scott-Herren’s music is thick and rich because of it and steadily so, outstanding too.
While there is a great deal of attention made for the guest vocalists that appear on the album including Shara Worden and the late Trish Keenan, the choir of voices work more as an additional instrument to the music rather than serving as lead vocals to any of their particular songs. On “The Only Direction in Concrete,” Scott-Herren decorates the music with tribal beats and forward-thinking samples before adding the coating of Zola Jesus’ vocals to the mix. Scott-Herren’s music has always evolved around compositional phrases that served as lush orchestral pieces and with the addition of featured voices on a few of the songs, everything sounds enjoyably more lush because of it.
In many ways, The Only She Chapters is yet another confident addition to Scott-Herren’s collection as Prefuse 73. There have been a lot of changes since Vocal Studies but there’s always an underlying greatness to everything Scott-Herren delivers. The Only She Chapters is just more proof of that and more reason to enjoy some fine electronic music at its best.