PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Prefuse 73: Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

Heron's best work since One Word Extinguisher is a true album experience, meant to be played start to finish in one uninterrupted session for maximum enjoyment.

Prefuse 73

Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

Label: Warp
UK Release Date: 2009-04-20
US Release Date: 2009-04-14
"The more things change, the more they remain the same."

-- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

It is not easy staying on the cutting edge. When you are credited with popularizing a genre, audiences are bound to divide over every new release. Some expect the music to be as distinctly unique as the first time they heard it, and will complain if future works are not as equally groundbreaking. Others are quick to play the sell-out card and whinge whenever said artist makes an album that doesn't sound exactly the same as the early stuff. It's a sticky wicket.

As such, it was all but guaranteed from the announcement of the release date that the fifth full-length record from Prefuse 73 would receive mixed reviews. For what it's worth, I think Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian is Guillermo Scott Heron's best work under this name since his seminal One Word Extinguisher (the record that put glitch-hop on the map in permanent marker), but it's a whole different kettle of fish. Ampexian is a true album, meant to be played start to finish in one uninterrupted session for maximum enjoyment.

There are 29 tracks in this experience, and only eight of them stretch over the two-minute mark. The range of styles presented is countless, and no single slice outstays its welcome. There are moments of classic glitch-hop, straight up hip-hop, sci-fi trip-hop, raunchy machine funk, and all manner of hyphenated downtempo electronic beat. Every track flows flawlessly into the next. It sounds like one continuous track, and I'm sure that was Prefuse's plan. Conversely, 2007's Preparations, though aurally similar in many respects, suffers slightly from a few padded out ideas that grind down the flow of the overall piece.

Some moments on Ampexian do stick out more than others. "Four Reels Collide" features little in the way of bass, instead focusing on a tripping moan that sweeps from side to side, along with more cowbell and a simple bass and acoustic guitar melody. With its Latin guitar, easy going beat, daydreaming vocal, and echoing mouth harp, "Regalo" sounds more like a track for Savath + Savalas (another of Guillermo's alter egos). Though it only lasts a minute and fifteen seconds, "Punish" is my favorite cut, with a stuttering string sample and an absurdly compressed beat. It's like someone ran over a copy of Ghislain Poirier's "Refuse To Lose" (from Breakupdown).

They tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian truly suits its magnificent artwork. In my eyes, the cover art makes it a kind of glitch concept album. Every time I hear this album, I feel like a lone space explorer in a low budget '70s film discovering faraway, exotic planets never before seen by human eyes. It's a trip, man. Buy the ticket; take the ride.

To be honest, on the whole, this album does not stick with me. After I'm finished listening to it, I forget practically everything about it. In that regard, it is definitely weaker than his first two records. The differences between this record and Preparations are mostly superficial. However, the retro-futuristic image on the cover of Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian (probably the best art he's ever had) and the idea of a true journey does linger on long after I've forgotten the nuts and bolts of every individual track. For the complete listening experience, I will return to this record more often than his last two full-lengths, but I think he still has some room to grow and avenues to explore.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.