You know how sometimes an artist who has never really been properly on your radar (or has been out of mind for a long time) in short space of time keeps on cropping up, as if to say “hey, listen to me”. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s happened to me recently with Matthew Herbert. Firstly, a couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered his amazing 2001 album Bodily Functions in my CD collection. Shortly after that I when I found out about ace new band The Invisible, I saw that he is their producer. Then last week I got an email about his latest project.
He’s getting his big band back together, which is perhaps not surprising given that it’s been his most commercially successful venture to date (or at least the most high-profile). But this isn’t really about cashing in. Matthew’s a man with many serious points to make, so he’s still managing to get messages into the swing-band jazz. Take this preview track The Story, which contains lyrics about Cambodian refugees, Indian farmers and paying the right price for coffee. And being a man who also likes a bit of performance art in his socially conscious dance music, there’s more to the track than meets the eye.
Honestly though, this is what you need liner notes (or a press release, in this case) for. Listening to The Story, you’d never realise that it features the sampled sound of 70 copies of The Sun newspaper. 70 celebrity gossip magazines. one copy of the NME, one Madonna album and one copy of Wallpaper* magazine. But it does. There you go.
Matthew’s new album There’s me, and then there’s you is out on 10 November. The Big Band play at the Royal Festival Hall on 21 November.
Oh, and one classic for old time’s sake.
mp3: Herbert - Suddenly
Buy Matthew Herbert stuff from Amazon