|Herbert; Wishmountain; Radioboy; Doctor Rockit. Matthew Herbert is a man of many pseudonyms and many styles. A fiercely intelligent, intriguing and opinionated twenty-nine year old who likes to make songs from errr bags of chips? |
Well, once anyway. Since then Matthew Herbert has moved on. Hes grown out of his inanimate object, kitchen utensil and household phase. Well, almost. This album still has the odd percussion sample taken from smashing recycled (it had to be) bottles or playing the contents of singer Dani Sicilianos handbag. Now, though Herberts main affinity is organic. The title, Bodily Functions is there for a reason, not just because it sounds good. Hes spent time making recordings of yes, bodily functions (Foreign Bodies) (he doesnt go into detail on this one unfortunately), laser eye surgery (You saw it all) and percussion played on the knuckles, hair, skin, teeth and bones of obliging friends (On Reflection).
After that brief resume you would be forgiven for thinking that this album is simply an excuse for the artist to be an artist, to be weird, to be experimental, to arrogantly disregard the fact that people may actually want to listen to and enjoy this record. But, you would be very much mistaken. Ok, these recordings are made in accordance with Herberts rule that the use of sounds that exist already is not allowed, but that doesnt mean that his artistic integrity is in need of a good shake up. No, as a classically trained musician, Herbert knows how music works. His previously mentioned yardstick means that this album could never possibly sound sterile, or tired or contrived. He takes these noises and tweaks them through his sampler (The most significant instrument of all time) making them into compatible and thoroughly charming sounds.
Alongside this come a multiplicity of real instuments; double bass, violin, piano, clarinet, flute. All recorded in swingtime. Its with these that he manages to show moments of pure genius, mixing jazz, house and techno. His cool ballads are made all the more poignant by vocalist Dani Sicilianos celestial croon whilst further vocal trickery ensues with the likes of The Audience. On the whole the main component of this album is jazz. Coming from the same school of thought as Leila he manages to competently create modern jazz numbers next to the mechanical throttled beats of Squarepusher. These are intricate tracks, difficult to dismantle and impossible to reconstruct.
Lyricist, musician, knob twiddler and right on left wing Humanist Herbert. This is a man who knows what to say, and how to say it. All you have to do is listen.