CD Release - Prefuse 73 pummels the Unicorn

Somewhere between his homes in Barcelona, Spain and New York, Atlanta expatriate Scott Herren has discovered the secret to overcoming the limitations of electronic music performed live. As Prefuse 73 filed languidly onto the Drunken Unicorn stage Thurs., Sept. 26, Herren took his place behind the drum kit to hammer out clusters of truncated polyrhythms. It quickly became clear: This is not the Prefuse 73 you saw at the Echo Lounge two years ago.

The five-man crew of pan-ethnic players, including Josh Abrams (bass), Ryan Rasheed (DJ), Marcus Evans (drums) and DJ Nobody (live mixing), resemble a lounge band from some exploitation film circa '73. Each of them occupied their own head space, zoning out on grooves while bearing beards and bed-heads.

Shattered beats framed by cerebral swells of post-rock, clicks and cuts have always hit hard during Prefuse's performances. The same components carved out by two drummers, however, give the music a wartime bounce that pummels with bombastic force. Herren and Evans' dueling percussions coiled in a helix of methodical rhythms that locked before exploding into chaos and reassembled to embark on a new fugue in the aural fog.

DJ Nobody frantically mashed buttons while Rasheed flipped records and tickled toggles. Their meticulous motions peeked over the drums and Abrams' bass during only a precious few valleys in the din.

Snares were kicked over and laptops tumbled to the floor while audience members scrambled to keep mic stands and cymbals from toppling over.

Herren's brand of ultramodern, experimental hip-hop exploded with a tremendous force that came not from a flawless performance, but by reverting to primal, ritualistic methods, and employing human hands where machines once did the work.