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Matthew Herbert Big Band

Matthew Herbert began experimenting with aleatoric processes while studying drama at Exeter University in the early 1990s. He gave his first public performance in 1995 as Wishmountain, reportedly using a bag of crisps as an instrument. Two years of performing under this name followed before he retired Wishmountain in favor of Radio Boy. In addition to creating rhythmic musique concrete as Radio Boy, however, Herbert worked on more traditional, yet relatively experimental dance music. In the mid 90s he traveled to San Francisco, where he met jazz singer Dani Siciliano. The two became collaborators and romantic partners, and eventually married. In 1998, Herbert issued Around the House, which successfully mixed dance beats, sounds generated by everyday kitchen objects, and Siciliano's wry vocals. By the late Nineties, Herbert was remixing tracks for dance artists like Moloko, Motorbass, Alter Ego, and others. (Many of these were later collected on Secondhand Sounds: Herbert Remixes.) He also recorded singles, EPs, and albums under a variety of aliases (Doctor Rockit, Radio Boy, Mr. Vertigo, and Transformer) as well as his own name. In 2001, Herbert issued Bodily Functions. Similar in structure to Around the House, it culled sounds generated by manipulating human hair and skin as well as internal bodily organs. Less severe than Matmos' work, its light and sinuous dance sound augured the rise of microhouse. Bodily Functions benefited greatly from a deal Herbert signed with electronic imprint Studio !K7, making it his first full-length to receive worldwide distribution. Goodbye Swingtime, a 2003 album issued as the Matthew Herbert Big Band, combined the political commentary of Radio Boy with the song structure of his Herbert albums. Recorded with sixteen musicians from the British jazz world, including saxophonists Dave O'Higgins and Nigel Hitchcock, pianist Phil Parnell, and bassist Dave Green, the band is complemented on stage by Siciliano, Arto Lindsay, Warp recording artist Jamie Lidell, and Mara Carlyle. In 2005 Herbert recorded a version of Jeff Buckley's “Everybody Here Wants You” with singer Dani Siciliano for the tribute album Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim and Jeff Buckley. On May 30 2006, Herbert issued Scale, his most successful album to date. In the U.S., it reached number 20 on Billboard's electronic music album chart. Entertainment Weekly remarked, “Herbert sneakily subverts Scale's apocalyptic thematic thread into something warm and danceable.” Online magazine Pitchfork Media noted, “Sophisticated and whimsical, joyful and yet tinged with sadness, Scale is one of this year's great albums.” In October 2008 Matthew Herbert released the second album by his Matthew Herbert Big Band project, entitled 'There's Me And There's You', fronted by vocalist Eska. Herbert served as co-producer for Patrick Wolf's latest project “The Bachelor”, producing alongside Wolf on “Who Will?” among other tracks.

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