Sons of the Morning: Speak Soon Vol. 1
(Yellow Year, 10/1/13)
"A Dangerous Study of Bird LIfe"
A collaboration between electronic musicians Prefuse 73 (Guillermo Scott Herren) and Teebs (Mtendere Mandowa), Sons of the Morning showcases the qualities that distinguish each artist’s style while also giving them fresh context in which to shine. Though classified as an EP, Speak Soon Volume One brims with a variety not typically found on full-lengths by either Prefuse or Teebs, and it feels considerably longer on playback than it actually is.
Unsurprisingly, the pair creates a powerfully sedating aura, but its music — which is actually quite busy on closer inspection — works on the ear via an intricate network of moving parts. (Picture the audio equivalent of a large-scale mobile sculpture designed for an outdoor space by a physicist and a micro-machine engineer who put a lot of thought into how the structure would interact with the different stages of day and night.)
Individual sounds sway gently from side to side of the stereo field while the collective sound undulates in bursts of dynamic saturation, as if a compression effect were always kicking in and — not unpleasantly — squeezing the air out of the music (a Teebs trademark). Moreover, Speak Soon rises above mere sonic fetishism with its emotional peaks, valleys, and unexpected twists.
If one-off collaborations routinely fail to reflect the attributes of the participants, Prefuse 73 (AKA Risil, Piano Overlord, Ahmad Szabo, Savath y Savalas, et al) has certainly bucked the trend here. Speak Soon Volume One bodes well for the rest of this EP series, which, over 12 installments, will feature the ever-prolific Herren alongside a different electronic producer on every release.