Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. A must-hear. [May 2005, p.138]
  2. 90
    Prefuse 73 has defiantly asserted himself as one of the most important artists of his generation, ignoring boundaries and creating a landscape that recognizes hip-hop's original "anything goes" ethos. [Apr 2005, p.99]
  3. Surrounded by Silence is at once more scatterbrained and fast moving than any other Prefuse album (even more so than the blink-and-you-miss-the-hook Extinguished), but the difference here is the cohesion of the radically different cuts.
  4. 88
    Track-for-track, Herren's stuttering production and Technicolor glitch madness turns the whole thing into some insane dance party. [#15, p.93]
  5. The jewel in Scott's creative crown is that he has an uncanny knack of keeping it flowing, even when his beats and tones are jerking our sensibilities to shreds with their cerebral madness.
  6. The album is diverse and slows up where it should.
  7. Silence easily matches, and likely exceeds, Mike Ladd’s recent Negrophilia in regard to hip hop’s lack of limits.
  8. 75
    Herren has the good collaborative instincts of Handsome Boy Modeling School, but none of their seedy, crowd-pleasing shtick. [Apr 2005, p.108]
  9. 70
    Fruitful collaborations... invite the listener to keep that dial locked, despite the odd distracting lapse into free-form digital static. [Jul 2005, p.112]
  10. Silence's instrumentals - choppy samples, organs, and horns, set to the tune of a staccato digital pacemaker - sound great, but they hardly stray from the formula laid down by Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives.
  11. Several of the instrumentals recapture something of the Prefuse 73 magic, but Herren isn't entirely successful even when in cut-and-splice mode.
  12. Surrounded By Silence is never less than pleasant, but with the exception of "Hide Ya Face," it's seldom more than that either.
  13. 70
    Fans of Handsome Boy Modeling School, DJ Spooky, RJD2 and other genre-melding, conscious hip-hop are gonna want to procure this one right away. [#9, p.71]
  14. Whether Herren is using Surrounded By Silence to spread the word about some of his favorite acts, or to insta-build a portfolio of outside production work, or a little of both, it's a much different-- and far more inconsistent-- affair than previous Prefuse efforts.
  15. Overall, it’s a story of too many ideas.
  16. Will only sound sweeter as summer draws nearer. [19 Mar 2005, p.59]
  17. Subtle contributions from left-field electronic artists like The Books and Broadcast add variety, but at 21 tracks, it's still a marathon. [Apr 2005, p.126]
  18. Surrounded by Silence isn't exactly coherent, but it isn't supposed to be: Strictly for fans of fragmented, forward-thinking beatscapes.
  19. Those wanting significant progression will find Surrounded By Silence mostly lacking.
  20. At longer lengths the jittery qualities of glitch-hop sputter, pushing patience towards intolerance.
  21. 40
    There's a flightiness that lends the album a showreel quality. [Apr 2005, p.97]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. matta
    Sep 9, 2005
    Sure it's weaker than his last album, but it's not a 71 weak. There are some fantastic tracks on here, but some of the collaborations were disappointing. I was excited for Hide Ya Face, and while it is good, it pales in comparison to Plastic from One Word Exstinguisher. Also, the instrumental numbers here aren't as good as they were on One Word. It just doesn't sound like as much time went into this one, and Herren attempted to hide that my including a plethora of guests. As much as I'm being critical, I did really enjoy the album and it's in my top 25 of the year so far. Best track-Pagina Dos with The Books guesting. Full Review »
  2. MCTravel
    Apr 22, 2005
    Critics tend to undervalue the immense amount of work that clearly goes into Prefuse 73's albums. Anyone with any experience with digital music-making is rightfully placed in awe by the apparantly grueling, painstakingly minute cutting, pasting and arranging that go into these recordings. What's more, the songs maintain a beautifully and listenable melodic quality unmatched by many of Prefuse's electronic contemporaries. This album is clearly the evolution of years of hard work and experience on Herren's part. The songs are beautiful, and with headphones on, practically exasperating in their compexity. It may be a little more than the average listener can handle. For the same reason I don't expect my little sister to like it when I play Aphex Twin in my car stereo, I can understand why many reviewers don't like it. Travel. Full Review »
  3. trent
    Apr 13, 2005
    The Ghostface/El-P collabo was, although not classic, still dope.Ghostface was all right, but El-P naturally matched the inventiveness of Herren's production. Instrumental tracks-most of them were excellent, although at times a little too laid back. Gza and Masta Killa- they took the day the day off. Their track was the only weak one on the album. I think critics had one of two expectations for Surrounded By Silence, an album that was a rehash of One Word Extinguisher, or an album that would erase the fine line between hip-hop and electronica for 21 tracks. Overall, a very eclectic and engrossing listen, but it doesn't match the all-around atmospheric quality of One Word Extinguisher. Full Review »