It's been four years since the last Prefuse 73 album, which may be a standard time for some, but for an artist as prolific as Guillermo Scott Herren, it's a veritable eternity. While there have been other Herren releases in that time period — an album under his Piano Overlord moniker and his collaborative Sons of the Morning project with Teebs — until now, nothing's emerged from his most well-known, and arguably his best alias.
Rivington Não Rio not only marks a return to the spotlight for Prefuse 73, but also a return to the ultra-layered, glitch beats of his formative years. Like so many pioneers, Herren seemed to have gotten bored with the style he created, causing him to push into new territory, such as the abstract and vocal-heavy The Only She Chapters. In contrast to trailblazers of his kind, Herren has had the guts to return to his roots, only now, his skills have been honed with the benefit of experience.
"Applauded Assumptions" is teeming with trademark Prefuse elements, but they're presented in a much more innovative way: the beat isn't just broken, it crumples to the floor with every loop; the glitches don't merely break up the track, they shuffle between layers; the tones aren't just colourful, they're a tapestry of luminescence. You can also see Herren's influences creep into the album: the wordless vocal shimmers and stunted piano work of "Inside" are reminiscent of the Books, while "See More Than Just Stars (featuring Helado Negro)" comes off like a beautifully fractal TV on the Radio track.
On its own, this album is a solid addition to an impressive back catalogue, but the fact that it's part of a triple-run of releases only adds weight to it. Rivington Não Rio is a centrepiece, the nucleus of a musical triptych that's bookended by two EPs, the excellent Forsyth Gardens and upcoming release Every Color of Darkness, which is set to drop on July 14. If the last of the trio is anything like the first two, consider that four-year silence thoroughly and successfully shattered. (Temporary Residence)