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Surrounded By Silence

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0007QRAPU
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #296,685 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. I've Said All I Need to Say About Them (intro)
2. Hideyaface featuring Ghostface and EL-P
3. Bad Memory (interlude one)
4. Ty Versus Detchibe featuring Tyondai Braxton
5. Expressing Views is Obviously Illegal
6. Pastel Assassins featuring Claudia + Alejandra Deheza
7. Pagina Dos featuring The Books
8. Silencio Interlude
9. Now You're Leaving featuring Camu
10. Gratis (Pedro versus Prefuse)
11. We Go Our Own Way featuring Kazu (Blonde Redhead)
12. Mantra Two featuring Tyondai Braxton
13. Sabbatical With Options featuring Aesop Rock
14. It's Crowded featuring Claudia Deheza
15. Just the Thought featuring Masta Killa + GZA
16. La Correccion Exchange featuring D.J. Nobody
17. Hideyaface Reprise (Reminder Version)
18. Morale Crusher featuring Beans
19. Minutes Away Without You
20. Rain (Edit Interlude)
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Features guest artists such as GZA, Ghostface, Aesop Rock, Masta Killa, Beans , Broadcast & Cafe Tacuba. Warp. 2005.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa6254f9c) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa61ede7c) out of 5 stars F*** the biters March 23 2005
By C. Flora-Tostado - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I never expected to be saying this, but this is already my favorite GSH release. Even better than the delarosa+asora discs and vocal studies. May even be his least revolutionary step musically, however the energy felt from listening is unmatched in Scott's repertoire.

The strengths really occur during his collaborations with other artists. That really isn't an enlightening statement since almost the whole disc is collaborations, however, the energy and creativity that results when these brilliant artists come together propels this album into something truly special. When you're done with these 21 songs that's exactly what you'll know you're holding: something special.

I am afraid that this album isn't likely to get the cred it deserves though. The sad fact is that Scott has never had more eyes on him after his last Prefuse album got so much publicity. I know this album will be well received for those introduced to this style of music for the first time, but i dread the hardcore fan backlash that will cry Scott went pop. No not "pop" music, but the fact alone that this record will get huge exposure.

The reason for this lunacy is the fact that Scott uses the same hip-hop skeleton as his other Prefuse outings and those familiar with his work will recognize the Prefuse flavor immediately (there are even a few sounds in here borrowed from his earlier work). If you think this album is any less than One Word Extinguisher because the emotional weight is absent, you're just missing the whole point.

alright, i'm over that...

This is truly a remarkable album.

The artwork in the booklet is a nice metaphor for the album. On the outside the package almost looks like the dark back alley version of a jay-z video. The Hollywood production is cast in deep contrast and we're left with a creepy, almost menacing version of the flashy production we're used to in hip hop mainstream these days. That same contrasting light reveals the unevenness in the model's upper right arm and we're exposed to all the flaws (and a scar) that would normally be hidden.

Scott's barely visible in the pictures himself, but as a presence over the music he is the photographer - never seen, always present. In the music contained here he is woven into every nook and cranny, he is the contrasting flash, the lens focus, the head-chopping crop artist...

Scott develops his greatest snapshot portrait of hip hop here and in the process proves that all the mainstream music around him just adds up to silence.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6f8150c) out of 5 stars A rather huge mixed bag, but ultimately rewarding June 4 2005
By Max - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ever since his first album "Vocal Studies & Uprock Narratives", Scott Herren, the man behind Prefuse 73, really sounded like the man that would change the way hip-hop music is perceived, mostly focusing on the musical aspects of it and merely using the MCs as a chopped and diced musical instrument part of his monster-like musical creations. When I heard One Word Extinguisher, I was blown away. Even though it was less complex than its precessor, it contained enough digital trickery and emotion to satisfy a programming nerd or just a well-minded music fan. It was definitely one of the top albums of 2003.

On this latest album, Prefuse 73 takes quite a different approach. Even though the track listing still bears the Prefuse 73 signature with that there are 21 tracks (with some of them being shorter interludes), where things mostly change is with the collaborative aspect of this album. While the previous albums had guest appearances (such as MF Doom, Sam Prekop, Diverse, Mr.Lif and others), there are guest appearances everywhere on this album, the most notable being Ghostface, El-P, Tyondai Brazton, Claudia Deheza, The Books, Aesop Rock, Masta Killa, GZA, DJ Nobody, Beans, Broadcast and... well, you get the picture. This makes for an eclectic, yet hard to stomach album. Mostly because there's so much music in there that it becomes dizzying. It really is impossible to get a proper opinion of that album on only one listen.

The cooperative aspect of the album, as said earlier, gives mixed results, but the collaborations that success here really do propel the album high upwards. "Pastel Assassins" is a wicked tune, featuring trailing loud snare accents all over the place enhanced by the vocals of the guest vocalists. "Pagina Dose", featuring the Books, is a quite entrancing little number, featuring exotic sounding guitars and some chopped vocals over Prefuse 73's signature drum beats. "Gratis" would be most likely Prefuse 73 at his best, mixing his trademark glitchy beats with nice melodies as well as some unexpected turns through its running time, such as the massive jazz workout happening near the middle of the piece whereas the closer song "And I'm Gone", which somehow managed to feature 3 guest appearances at the same time, is a terrific showcase of psychedelia mixed over some nifty jazz drumming.

However, the collaborative aspect do show it's failures mostly in the rap songs' department. Whereas Prefuse 73 did manage to make and produce some good straight-forward rap songs on his previous albums (Black List and Plastic being the most noteworthy picks), most of the songs here fall flat due to Herren trying to satisfy his guest vocalists rather than to satisfy himself. Hide Ya Face, for instance, is a rather annoying song in which neither Ghostface or El-P manage to stand out in a good way, delivering completely off-beat, insipid rhymes complemented by El-P shouting "Hi-hi-hide-hide ya face!" once in a while. Luckly, the instrumental remix that comes after sheds some better light on the rather ill single song. The other biggest offender would be "Just The Thought", which mostly suffer from a similar fate, having it's MCs spilling some really sloppy dialogue over the somewhat intriguing production.

"Now You're Leaving", featuring MC Camu on the vocals, almost sounds like a straight R&B tune that almost eschews Prefuse 73's glitchy approach altogether, but at least the vocals do add up to the song and this fellow has a quite pleasant voice, as well. Aesop Rock, who already appeared on Prefuse's first album, is back on "Sabbatical With Options", a quirky, yet fun tune that do feature some humor. "Moral Crusher" with Beans would have to be the better rap collaboration on the disc, with him delivering interesting rhymes and a rather charismatic voice. It's a shame that this song just acts like an interlude as it's just 1 minute long.

While Prefuse 73 might have been a bit over-ambitious with this album and certainly could have got removed some fat off his album to make it more packed and organised, removing some of the embarrasing moments and some of the songs where Prefuse 73 just recycles previous ideas of his former albums and do little else (such as Silence Interlude's use of One Word Extuinguisher's opening fanfare and his rewrite of his song "Detchibe" that results in the track "Ty Versus Detchibe" featuring Tyondai Braxton) would result in a great album. As it stands out now, it's a bit uneven, but there are enough great moments through this CD to keep you listening all the way through. If you're a Prefuse 73 fan, this album will sit nicely on your CD collection alongside your other CDs and newcomers might enjoy that album, as well.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6122798) out of 5 stars Now this is more like it!!!!! July 13 2005
By Elroy Cruise - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Aside from 'detchibe' and 'perverted undertones' (and a few others, though to a much lesser extent) i was rather disappointed by One Word Extinguisher. It wasn't the followup to Vocal Studies that I had hoped for; too flat and monotomous for my tastes. Then i figured, what the hey, and bought Extinguished anyways, hoping it would reaffirm my faith in Mr. Herren. It didn't; It was awful. Nonetheless, when i saw first saw Surrounded by Silence in the store i immediately plopped down my money for it with high (but leary) expectations.

The first listen through i didn't know quite what to think of it, though i remembered liking quite a few individual tracks (Pagina Dos is the clear standout). With each and every repeat listen (at least twenty times since i picked it up) it has grown on me more and more, and after thouroughly pondering it, i've concluded that it's my favorite Prefuse album to date (and i've been a fan of Herren's music since Vocal Studies).

There isn't a single track i fast-forward past, though i do wish 'just the thought' didn't have vocals, and i can't stand the guy who speaks in the introductory track. What make the album so great in my opinion is the much-talked about eclecticism that runs throughout the whole thing. All the songs seem randomly collected and put together at first, but there IS a sort of cohesivity that becomes apparent after several listens. One minute you're listening to cold, cloudy hip-hop, the next minute you're listening to what sounds like a videogame RPG soundtrack, but it's all high quality and quite catchy, once the initial shock wears off.

The last two tracks even seem like they were taken off of other non-Prefuse Scott Herren albums (Delarosa and Asora's Agony pt. 1 and Savath + Savalas' newer, Spanishy stuff).

Overall i think this album works well and is Scott's best work since Vocal Studies (and as I said, i enjoy it even more, though it is less of a "record"; It's much more fun and dymnamic).

Highly recommended to anyone and everyone; The best album of 2005 so far, methinks.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa65de654) out of 5 stars Igloo Magazine's REVIEW Dec 2 2005
By Pietro Da Sacco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Review by: Paul LLoyd at igloomag.com

(04.24.05) With Scott Herren (a.k.a. Prefuse 73) providing the musical backdrop and a whole host of collaborators providing vocal accompaniment, Surrounded By Silence covers a wide range of musical styles from hip-hop, contemporary, R&B, country, funky jazz and orchestral. Amongst the vocalists providing assistance include Ghostface & EL-P, The Books, Kazu from Blonde Redhead, Aesop Rock, Masta Killa, GZA, Claudia & Alejandra Dehaza and more.

What provides the common thread to tie these diverse styles together is Herren's experimental treatment of each musical style represented, cutting it up, reinventing it, adding bassy breaks and samples to completely rewrite musical boundaries. Throwing in hip-hop samples throughout, Surrounded By Silence presents an initially bewildering array of musical styles patched together in a frantic collage of sound. "We Go Our Own Way" featuring Kamu (Blonde Redhead) is particularly memorable for her silky seductive and quite unique vocal delivery along with tense, vaguely ethnic, jazzy breaks. Although representing a completely different genre, "Sabbatical With Options" featuring hip-hop talent Aesop Rock is equally good with Rock's rant about needing to get out of the city set to slick hip-hop beats and an acoustic guitar backing. With "Just the Thought," jabbing breaks and computer game blips sit alongside hip-hop verses from Masta Killa and GZA. On the other end of the scale is "Pastel Assassins" featuring the ethereal vocal talents of Claudia & Alejandra Dehaza providing a dreamy contemporary approach over Herren's low-key jittery backing. Then there is "Pagina Dos" that manages to successfully pull off a fusion of hip-hop, breaks and country banjo. Although very eclectic in influence Surrounded By Silence has a consistent hip-hop theme throughout that provides some cohesion and brings the album together nicely.

A diverse sonic collage based on an experimental hip-hop theme that remains an interesting experiment in the fusion of vastly different musical genres. By no means a novelty album or exploitation of bootleg mix culture but an original exploration in sound manipulation that withstands multiple listens. Surrounded By Silence is out now on Warp.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa666f738) out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant Oct. 16 2006
By Zack Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've owned this album for a long time and listen to it very, very often. I love it. The various songs on this album have changed the way I listen to music. A must-have.