104

Herbert: Bodily Functions

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Herbert: Bodily Functions Matthew Herbert, the London-based music visionary, has recorded under the monikers Wishmountain, Radio Boy, and Doctor Rockit. Here, as "Herbert," he offers the remarkable Bodily Functions, an album that at once exemplifies the new trend called "electro-acoustic" music and yet seems to occupy a genre all its own. Blending piano, woodwinds, strings, house-music beats, musique-concrete samples, and the sultry vocals of Dani Siciliano, Herbert doggedly observes Article One of his Personal Contract for the Composition of Music (PCCOM): "The use of sounds that exist already... is not allowed." (Only eight of the 14 tracks are composed in strict accordance with the Contract. Check out www.matthewherbert.com for complete text of the Contract, along with lots of other poetic, political, and often bleakly humorous copy.)

For straight-ahead jazzers, who tend to insist on the importance of tradition, of sounds that already exist, Herbert’s radical views are likely to be an irritant. In this regard one should note that the word preceding "contract" is "personal": this is what is important to Herbert, but it’s not necessarily an attempt to invalidate other kinds of music. (Article Three, however, is an implicit rebuke to the superficial hip-pop of Sean Combs and his ilk: "The sampling of other people’s music is strictly forbidden.") That said, Herbert is clearly a person of strong opinions, and very serious about getting his anti-mainstream message across.

Herbert’s songs (and they are rightly called songs) do inevitably make reference to sounds and grooves that have come before. But on a literal level he keeps his word, relentlessly editing and filtering his sources to birth new sonic worlds. Even on acoustic, jazz-oriented tunes like "I Know," "The Last Beat," and "On Reflection," there are novel things going on in terms of production, things you’d never hear on a straight jazz record. In addition to the live instruments and electronic beats, Herbert samples such tactile, real-world phenomena as human blood flow and digestive noise, laser eye surgery, a mouse trying to climb out of a garbage can, and the rustling contents of a handbag. This is what makes Herbert’s music refreshing and even thrilling: there’s really no way of anticipating what you’re about to hear.

Track Listing: 1. You

Personnel: Matthew Herbert, piano, Rhodes, bass guitar, violin, samples, arrangements; Dani Siciliano, vocals; Peter Wraight, bass clarinet, flugelhorn, trumpet, flute, arrangements; John Matthias, violin; Shingai Shoniwa, vocals, vocal samples; Phil Parnell, piano, Rhodes, piano samples; Dave Green, bass; Paul Clarvis, drums; Luca Santucci, vocals; Jim Mullen, guitar

Title: Bodily Functions | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Studio K7


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 15, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.