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Herbert: Bodily Functions

Matthew Herbert, 29, Englishman, resident in London - Pianist or keyboard player by trade… At the beginning of the ‘90s, he became addicted to the unlimited possibilities of the sampler. Since 1995, under various pseudonyms, including Wishmountain, Radioboy, Doctor Rockit, and of course, Herbert, he has released the most exciting electro-acoustic music of the present day.

Matthew’s father, a BBC sound technician, “always surrounded himself with melodious technology.” At the age of four, Matthew took up the violin and piano, at seven he sang in the choir (we are reminded of the relationship of Anglican Church music to US gospel) and played in orchestras and at 13 was a keyboard player in bands. At school, he had the good fortune to have a music teacher who considered Reich, Xenakis and jazz standards to be the equal of Beethoven. While at school, he began to experiment with what is in (not only) his opinion the most significant instrument of all time: the sampler. It therefore happened that a classically trained musician made his first significant appearance (January 95) not at the piano or playing a violin, but using a sampler, microphones and a bag of chips. The rule that Matthew Herbert’s art unwaveringly follows is, “The use of sounds that exist already is not allowed” - a significant reason why he will never drown in an ocean of processed, synthetic, reciprocally sampled and therefore similarly sounding music.

The formerly differentiated factors in Herbert’s music are growing together and have been given their most mature expression so far in Bodily Functions. This disc, made from “new” sounds as always, is pure beauty: a loving homage to 40s standards, a transcendental amalgamation of folk, jazz and house, in whose body of sound piano, strings, acoustic bass and processed ambient noises accumulate to form an unpretentious grandeur, crowned by Dani Siciliano’s ethereally present voice.


1. You're Unknown to Me
2. It's Only
3. Foreign Bodies
4. Suddenly
5. I Know
6. Leave Me Now
7. Last Beat
8. You Saw It All
9. On Reflection
10. About This Time Each Day
11. Addiction
12. I Miss You
13. It's Only a Reprise
14. Audience

Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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