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March 23, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-23

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10 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

ARTS

Prefuse 73 'Surrounded' by greatness

It's just like the Naked Mile but without the cops.

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Music Editor
MUSIC REVIEW
Kraftwerk did it. Aphex Twin may
have done it. Paul Oakenfold will
never do it. In 2003, Atlanta-based
glitch hop kingpin Scott Herren
reached arguably
the peak of elec- Prefuse 73
tronic music: he
used computers Surrounded
to touch emo- By Silence
tions that no other Warp
music can come
close to evoking.
When Herren, working under his Pre-
fuse 73 moniker, transmuted private
loss and haunting, fractured love into
One Word Extinguisher, he elevated
himself into the pantheon of modern
music. What's more, he's got enough
skill to jump from production duties
to production duties like the Harlem
Globetrotters jump cities. So what the
hell is left to do?
To call Surrounded By Silence a laurel-
resting album would be fairly accurate.
But remember, Herren's laurels look and
smell better than just about anything in
the music world. The way Herren seems
to freeze, melt and condense sound isn't
just indicative of his laptop alchemy, but
of his pure nose for melody.
The album boasts a list of collabo-

rators wild enough to grab the most
jaded musician's eyes (The Books, El-
P, Masta Killa, etc...) and apparently
humble enough to submit themselves
to Herren's often overwhelming mon-
soons of sound. For Silence, Herren
tones down some of his grander, more
swirling sound sequences to give his
guests an easier musical backdrop.
Prefuse makes the beats, the other
acts get to play on them like kids on
a swing set. Think of the album as a
much classier, much artier version of
the Neptunes' compilation disc The
Neptunes Present... Clones. Then
again, Pharrell couldn't in his wild-
est dreams create a loop of hand claps
as feral as Herren did for "Ty Versus
Detchibe".
Prefuse 73's work has, since his debut
on Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives,
been self-reflective. With Surround-
ed by Silence, the same fast-burning
IDM spectrum of plinks that appears
on "Expressing Views Is Obviously
Illegal" resurfaces on "It's Crowded."
Some of his signatures are ethereal
enough to defy description; you'll find
the same 20 microscopic hooks in all
the cracks of the album. It's amazing
the way Herren can rehash the same
hoops of music without ever sounding
monochromatic; he's the ultimate in
cohesiveness.
If Silence has one trait to separate
itself, from the rest of Herren's outstand-

Newest Sims' offers
taste of campus life

Courtesy of warp

"I'm the Howard Hughes of glitch hop."

By Brandon Jones
For the Daily

Why would anyone currently liv-
ing the college life want to play a
game that simulates it? The "Sims"
franchise has built itself on allowing
players to create
any kind of fan- The Sims 2:
tasy life they can University
dream up. Even
things that wouldP
be unacceptable EA Games
in real life are fair
game in the world
of "The Sims 2: University." The
first of hopefully many entertaining
expansion packs for "The Sims 2" is
no different. Simply exploring the vast
quantity of consequence-free antics
possible in this game is pure fun, and
players will want to keep playing just
to see what more they can uncover.
Thanks to the sublimely intui-
tive "Sims 2" engine, even the most
socially inept players can create their
wildest college fantasies. Players
longing for the days before the Ann
Arbor Police Department had put a
stop to the naked mile can recreate
the experience using the new streak-
ing command. Players wishing for
an MSU riot can light up the town
using the new bonfire item. Sorority
sisters can engage in naked pillow
fights and hot tub threesomes. Sims
can even be recruited into shadowy
secret societies.
The game nails college atmo-
sphere, from the many unique cam-
pus locations Sims can visit, such
as the gym and the library, to the
slei of new items including MP3

players and band equipment. What's
more, the new youth pop/alt-rock
soundtrack provides a mood of
youthful exuberance.
"University" plays like a hedo-
nistic "Sims 2" light. Without the
responsibilities of having a job or
raising children, Sims have more
free time to socialize and have fun.
Sims living in the dorms will inter-
act with a constant stream of non-
player characters that also cohabitate
in the residence halls. Sims living in
houses can throw parties and bring
people to them.
Class lasts two hours a day and
assignments completed outside of
class boost grade performance while
securing cash incentives at the end
of the semester. Money is harder to
accumulate and there is less empha-
sis on materialism and real estate in
favor of social interaction.
Picking up a Sim from a "Sims 2"
family and sending them to college
provides several gameplay advan-
tages. In addition to extending its
life span, "University" allows Sims
to pick from 11 majors that access
new careers. Other new gameplay
additions include lifetime goals that
gives characters a permanent mood
boost when accomplished, and an
influence ability where Sims can
accumulate and spend points to get
other Sims to do things for them,
like school assignments and house
cleaning.
The game doesn't reinvent the genre,
so players who didn't like the open-
ended gameplay of previous games
won't change their mind, but players
who have already donated their lives
to the Sims franchise will find plenty
new to sink more hours into.

ing catalogue, it's that ballot of artists
who climb aboard Prefuse's wild ride.
Ghostface Killah and underground
rap star El-P don't so much flow over
"HideYa Face" as they dogfight over
warped sirens and laser beam whistles.
Neo-post-punk act Blonde Redhead
and their harem of slanted guitars, and
dreamy vocals take the album's most
unforgettable track, "We Go Our Own
Way" to a nirvana of Arabian micro-
tones and smooth drums. Here Herren
knows just how to tone down his digital

gifts without dulling the song's finish.
Struggling to balance the innate desire
to show off his superhuman talent with
the intermittent need for neater musical
channels, Prefuse 73's creative tension
ultimately makes Surrounded By Silence
just as impressive as One Word Extin-
guisher but less transcendent. Working
with a crowd of artists this diverse is, of
course, a test for any producer and Pre-
fuse succeeds admirably. But Herren
isn't just another producer; Genius like
this doesn't need any company at all.

Stamos vehicle doomed by
pithy dialogue and humor

By Kevin Hollifield
Daily Arts Writer

-TV R EVEW
Within seconds of a tired "Queer Eye for the

Straight Guy" joke, it is already
apparent that "Jake in Prog-
ress," the newest vehicle for
John Stamos of "Full House"
fame, is another failed attempt
at comedy. While Stamos and
the cast make a valiant effort,

Jake in
Progress
Thursday at 8 p.m.
ABC

the premise is weak. "Jake in
Stagnation" would be a more apt title.
Stamos ("Full House") is Jake Phillips, a wom-
anizing aide to the stars attempting to clean up his
act. The show's attempts at humor are derived from
Jake's miserable dating failures.
Several people aid Jake through his transition.
His married friend, Adrian (Ian Gomez, "The
Drew Carey Show"), is his antithesis, representing
the marital failure Jake could find when he settles
down. Adrian spends more time with Jake than his
wife, and his in-laws wish their daughter had mar-
ried Jake instead. Naomi (Wendy Malick, "Just
Shoot Me") is Jack's rough-around-the-edges, but

kindhearted boss. Pregnant through in-vitro fer-
tilization, she makes it her personal challenge to
find Jake a good woman. Patrick (Rick Hoffman),
the most bizarre character in Jake's life, is a stalk-
ing illusionist who desperately wants to be Jake's
buddy.
In the pilot, Jake must deal with Shane, his client
who is currently portraying a boxer. Shane's sexual-
ity has recently come under fire in the tabloids, so
Jake attempts to remedy the situation by holding a
sparring session for Shane against Adrian. Jake has
also been set up on a date with Naomi's sister, a
situation complicated by the fact that the two have
previously shared a one-night stand that Jake cannot
remember. The show is pushed along using multiple
viewpoints and segments are sometimes shown with
a split screen.
"Jake in Progress" has a one-joke premise, and the
writers usually create humor from situations involv-
ing homophobia and effeminate men. For example,
hilarity is supposed to ensue when Jake must deal
with a major controversy after learning that a mem-
ber of a "Queer Eye"-like makeover group is actu-
ally heterosexual, but the joke falls flat.
While John Stamos has been given multiple
chances at stardom, he has yet to carry his own
show. This cast makes a valiant effort, but it is like-

el

Courtesy of ABC
"I live in the shadow of the Olsen twins."
ly that Stamos will have to wait longer for a break-
out hit. Without the cute kids to carry it, the destiny
of "Jake in Progress" may be less like "Full House"
and more like the ill-fated "Thieves."
Have mercy.

DAILY ARTS. HiEY, WATCH THE HAIR.

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