Rivington Neo Rio revels in the kind of compassionate complexity that marks Prefuse 73's greatest works, with a profound new element added to the mix: Patience. Herren's ability to marry the manic to the melodic has always been uncanny, but here it feels downright magical as the songs inhale with his trademark sense of urgency... then exhale in longer, more revealing breaths. The prismatic textures that have long been a staple of Prefuse 73 are bound to beats and melodies with the spirit of hip-hop and the subtlety of modern minimalism. The album's guests treat the material with a hushed respect: Roc Nation songwriter and Jessie Ware collaborator Sam Dew turns "Infrared" into a sublimely soulful, dimly-lit portrait of inverted R&B; Milo & Busdriver's vicious, rapid-fire verses contrast a pastoral downbeat to brilliant effect; and elsewhere, Pinback's Rob Crow and Latin electronic-folk crooner Helado Negro navigate splintered tropics with passive grace. As a stand-alone album, Rivington Neo Rio ranks extraordinarily high in the Prefuse 73 canon. As a centerpiece to an epic triptych that includes the Forsyth Gardens and Every Color of Darkness EPs, it's a new peak from a pioneer who appears to only just now be hitting his prime. For an artist who has played an undeniably integral role in the careers of so many influential artists, it's not just refreshing to hear him return to top form... it's revelatory.
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