Weighing in on Herbert's "Scales"

Matthew Herbert has long been a favorite of chin-stroking fans of what used to be called “IDM”, delivering albums based on a complex set of self-imposed rules called P.C.C.O.M Turbo Plus (incorporating the Manifesto of Mistakes) . Despite his lifetime A.V. club membership, Herbert delivered the best post-modern lounge record of all time in 2001’s Bodily Functions.

After his twin great-on-paper-snooooooooze-fest-in-practice full-lengths, Goodbye Swingtime (the “big band” album) and Plat du Jour (the "hey let make an album where we hit water bottles and chew lettuce instead of writing songs" album) Matthew Herbert has finally returned to some classic function-over-form dance tracks.

The Herbert featured on his new album Scales (out 5/30on !K7) reigns as master of low-key groove-oriented soul/funk/house/whatevs.

Oh and he has an agenda too. As he told the floppy-hairs over at Pitchfork in February:

"My goals, as always these days, are to bring down Tony Blair [and] the American empire, a withdrawal of troops in Iraq and bring[ing] about an end to our reliance on oil," Herbert told Pitchfork in an email interview. "I will, as usual fail. This time, instead of trying to do it with a process of intense political organisation of sounds, I have chosen to shroud these ambitions in song.

"On Plat du Jour, my last record, I had few harmonic tools with which to write the melodies and not one traditional instrument. For Scale therefore I wanted to languish in the freedoms of an orchestra, the satisfying fall of a melody played by a musician on an instrument developed over hundreds of years. It is a celebration of all the luxuries I have been afforded by the age of cheap oil and a critique of all the violence that allowed those privileges."

Before you write the whole damn thing off as some big beat Bob Dylan, check out the tracks provided by our French speaking friends over at Pardon My Freedom . Both cuts could probably turn those French student riots into the greatest party ever.
-- Eli Anderson
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