It’s weird when a predominately instrumental artist releases an album that features an over-reliance on vocals. Prefuse 73, not expected or even known for this sort of practice, did this with last year’s Surrounded By Silence. Not only was the flow of the album hindered by the likes of Ghostface Killah, Aesop Rock and others; Gil Scott Herren’s productions didn’t hold the same resonance as times past. It wasn’t typical Prefuse 73.
With Security Screenings, besides the obvious references to the loathsome airport security screening process, Herren returns to what he does best—making unpredictable glitchy creations of electronica splashed with elements of experimental hip-hop. Interestingly, unlike the vocal-heavy collaboration of the predecessor, Security is relatively vocal free. Aside from the guest vocals of Babatunde Adebimpe from T.V. on the Radio, Herren let’s his music do the talking.
“Keeping Up With Your Quota” speaks the loudest and demonstrates the strength of Prefuse 73: beat-heavy rhythms with blippy electronic pulses and spacey soundscapes that create Security’s seductive qualities. “Matrimonioids” celebrates a return to the glitch of 2001’s Vocal Studies & Uprock Narratives and “When the Grip Lets You Go” lends itself to the chopped up sampling that Herren is so skilled at.
Other elements surface on Security Screenings like the mash-up, distortion laden “With Dirt and Two Texts,” and the noise collage of “Creating Cyclical Headaches,” a collaboration with Four Tet.
Judging by the “Illiterate Interlude,” when an interviewer expresses his disdain for the previous album and wonders if there “could be anymore guests on there,” it expresses that Herren possesses a sense of humor regarding the perceived ineffectiveness of Surrounded. Those problems are eliminated here. Despite how purposely disjointed aspect of Security Screeenings, it flows remarkably well and proves a vocal accompaniment is deemed unnecessary with the music of Prefuse 73.