Household objects, live farm animals, bombs, shopping lists – these are not the typical makings of pop music, let alone dance floor anthems. Unless you’re Matthew Herbert. Even in the world of electronic music, home to some of the most eccentric characters in the industry, the iconoclastic DJ and composer stands out, not just for his peculiar choice of instruments, but for transforming the mundane sounds into music that is immediately novel and enduringly inspirational.
On his newest EP, Part 6, Matthew gets back to his Herbert alias for a continuation of the Parts series (1-5) that he released in the mid 1990s. The four-track EP kicks off with “123”, most reminiscent of his work with Dani Siciliano, albeit with Hejira singer Rahel in her place. It’s a bubbly tune with Rahel’s voice skating breezily along Herbert’s trademark skittering beats and deep, warm tones. The closer “Grab the Bottle” is the most aggressive tune, tucking sinister vocal snippets, cymbal crashes, and squeaks into zany acid house/minimal techno that would sound at home under a very twisted big top circus.
The two tracks in between include “My DJ” where the title vocal hook is compressed into a manic insect-like peep befitting the nano-bot feel of the percolating track. All of these elements come together on “Manny”, premiering on VIBE today – chopped vocal, staccato rhythm, melodic dissonance, it’s in there. It’s been over eight years since Matthew’s last Herbert output. Although we can’t wait to hear what he cooks up next, hopefully it won’t be another eight until we get Part 7.