Following the vinyl reissue news of groundbreaking LPs Around The House (1998), and Bodily Functions (2001), Herbert announces a new album in the domestic house series – Musca. Bittersweet jazz infused house born of intimacy and collaboration, featuring 8 singers and 6 musicians. Musca is an introspective moment during a time of turmoil and a pause before his next experimental project based on one billion+ sounds. A package of very special 12” remixes is also in the works as well as a premiere of a new documentary, Symphony of Noise.
Matthew Herbert announces details of a new Herbert album Musca to be released 22nd October on Accidental Records. Musca is the next in the series of domestic house albums to follow the groundbreaking LP classics Around The House (1998), and Bodily Functions (2001) which are slated for a special ‘21st anniversary of the Accidental label’ vinyl reissue on9th July.
2021 is proving to be a bumper year for Herbert fans who can also look forward to a package of very special 12” remixes this summer and the premiere of 10-years-in-the-making-documentary, Symphony of Noise, about his work with sound.
The first single to be taken from the new album is The Way featuring Ghanaian-German singer Y’akoto. Written during the first lockdown, it is the sound of contemplation. Matthew describes it as “a surrender to the intimacy we found ourselves face to face with on a daily basis.”
After the wide expanse of his last big band album The State Between Us made with more than 1000 musicians and singers across Europe, this album instead is inward looking. Born of both intimacy and collaboration, features eight singers, Verushka Grebenar-George, Siân Roseanna, Allie Armstrong, Bianca Rose, Melissa Uye-Parker, Daisy Godfrey, Yakoto Kieck and Joy Morgan – all of whom Matthew has never worked with before or met face to face. It also features musicians Nick Ramm, Tom Herbert, Tom Skinner, Finn Peters, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Leo Taylor, who, like the singers, all self-recorded and in isolation from each other.
Matthew says: “Like presumably many other albums made during the last year, Musca reflects on navigating the challenges and joys of our most intimate relationships whilst the world is in turmoil. Not just with Covid, but with the rise in state and political violence, facebook-friendly fascism, white supremacy and a climate in crisis.”
Matthew has talked about the need to retreat to an earlier, more familiar way of creating music as a form of solace during an unstable year. Having completed his PhD last year about the ethics of composing with sound and with his next experimental project based on more than one billion sounds, Musca is a moment of introspection, a pause. The album takes its name from musca – the genus part of the latin name for a housefly. Soulful, stirring, and bittersweet, Musca bears the hallmarks of its classic predecessors layering elements of jazz infused house with a characteristically vivid palette of sounds (including a variety of sounds from around the farm where he lives, such as a synth made from his wife’s dog, one of his pig’s snoring and fox cubs gekkering) and of course, a fervent political heart.
Matthew continues, “The week last year when I wrote most of these songs seems like another era altogether. I have no idea how they will sound a year later now the context has changed so markedly. The optimist in me wants to leap forwards, vaccinated into the sunshine brandishing the NHS logo, but the realist in me is aghast at the wave of death unleashed upon this country by an incompetent and corrupt government. The record probably has ended up with both of those things however – optimism that an alternative way of organising ourselves is possible and anger and gloom that we’re not there yet.”
The 13 track album has been mixed by Matthew and mastered by long term collaborator and Grammy winning engineer, Mandy Parnell (Björk, Brian Eno and Aphex Twin). The artwork is by Sarah Hopper who has done nearly all the artwork for Matthew’s house music output for 25 years.
Online record store Bleep are now taking pre-orders for Around The House, available as a triple vinyl in black, transparent ‘sky blue’ or ‘pearl house’ white. As they wrote of the record…“Herbert solidified his reputation as one of electronic music’s greatest conceptual artists. Largely made from tones you’re likely to hear in the home; the clinking of glasses, the scraping of cutlery, the spray of an aerosol can. The humbleness of its musical raw materials belies the fact that it’s Herbert’s first great masterpiece.”
Similarly, Bodily Functions receives the coloured vinyl treatment, available as a triple vinyl in black, transparent grey or lavender. “Bodily Functions has the air of an opus, an LP so effortlessly captivating and brilliantly strange that you’d forget it was made by a person – which is ironic, given that the majority of its fleshy textures are quite literally ‘human’. As boundlessly playful as it is implacably audacious….Bodily Functions turns the term ‘electronic body music’ completely on its head.” Both releases are limited to 250 copies each and ship from 9th July.
Spring also sees the release of a special documentary by Enrique Sanchez Lansch about Matthew and listening produced by Kloos and co and distributed by Rise and Shine Cinema. Entitled A Symphony Of Noise, over 10 years the film follows Matthew through 20 or so of his projects as an electronic musician, artist and sound activist. The documentary will premiere in Poland on the 28th May, followed by a German cinema release, 1st July. You can watch the trailer here
Matthew Herbert is a widely acclaimed composer, producer and writer based next to the marshes of East Kent. His most recent album, The State Between Us was a collaboration across borders between 1000 musicians as part of theBrexit Big Band (2019), prior to that he released an album that was a book – the Music (A Novel Through Sound) published in 2018. Before that, A Nude soundtracked 24 hours of human activity through recordings of a single body. Matthew wrote the score for the Oscar-winning Chilean film A Fantastic Woman, the Academy Award nominated documentary The Cave, recent Julianne Moore film Gloria Bell and the acclaimed West End play People, Places and Things.
Herbert will release his full length album Musca on Accidental Records, 22nd October 2021. Presales will go live on June 4th.
24.07.21 – Night Tales, London
19 – 22.08.21 – We Out Here Festival, Cambridgeshire
26.11.21 – The Crescent, York
Look out for more upcoming dates, coming soon.