To be sure, Herren's new Savath & Savalas album, Golden Pollen, would make a terrible hip-hop record. In fact, it might actually have been the worst Spanish-language hip-hop record of all time, putting it about a notch below Gerardo's Mo' Ritmo-- if it was a hip-hop record at all. Fortunately, it's not: Just as Herren's work as Prefuse 73 fits neatly amid Warp Records' boundary-pushing electronic fare, Savath & Savalas plays to the Anti label's artist-as-personality aesthetic.
Golden Pollen shines a brighter spotlight on Herren himself than it does on the equipment he uses to arrange his instruments (a variety of traditional Latin American stringed instruments, percussion, vibes, and synths) into loungey, modernist folk pastiches. Granted, he does pull in help from Tarantula A.D.'s Danny Bensi, Battles' Tyondai Braxton, Triosk drummer Laurence Pike, singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd (who sings wraithlike harmonies amid the intro's cinematic string flurries), and Ghostface, who takes the lead vocal on slow-burning anthem "Estrella de Dos Caras". Wait, did I say Ghostface? Make that José González.