While Vocal Studies veered closer to Shadow's atmospheric hip-hop, One Word Extinguisher leans toward Autechre -- that is, if Autechre uncorked the sticks out of their uptight arses. Herren's production work on One Word is as jaw-dropping as ever, as he threads tiny beat fragments together with jazz bass lines, strings, vocals, and a slew of various scratchy blips, bleeps, clips, and clops. It's clear Herren doesn't want to wait for you to get adjusted to his confounding audio alchemy; he jumps headfirst into the maelstrom with the gutsy stutter-step vibe of "The End of Biters" before immediately following with the equally powerful "Plastic," a tough blend of hip-hop and glitch accented by the fervent rhymes of Chicago underground MC Diverse.
A quick perusal of the guest collaborators on One Word -- Detroit's hip-hop experimentalist Dabrye on two tracks, Southern California collagist Daedelus, skateboarder-turned-producer Tommy Guerrero, and Boston MC Mr. Lif -- shows that Herren is in full exploratory mode. However, he never loses sight of key elements such as groove, atmosphere, melody, and humor, the latter quality evidenced by his hilarious use of vocal samples on "Altoid Addiction" and "Southerners" as well as the self-explanatory song titles "90% Of My Mind Is With You" and "Perverted Undertone." For once, do believe the hype. Prefuse 73 is the real shit. -- Tim Pratt