104

Herbert: Bodily Functions

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
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

| Record Label: Studio K7 | Style: Electronica


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Tierra" CD/LP/Track Review Tierra
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Unfolding In Tempo" CD/LP/Track Review Unfolding In Tempo
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Ballast" CD/LP/Track Review Ballast
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Magic Light" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Light
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 25, 2016
Read "Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: March 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!