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Sample Show 

Matthew Herbert's

Wednesday, Aug 23 2006
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It isn't that remarkable to be a sample-happy producer.

But no producer is more creative at elevating the task of adding snippets to a higher art form than London's Matthew Herbert, who has tracked everything from farting and retching to his dead goldfish getting flushed down the loo for songs that move from house and electro to big band and back.

For the past six years, Herbert has followed a self-imposed Personal Contract for the Composition of Music (P.C.C.O.M), with tenets like "the sampling of other people's music is strictly forbidden" and "the use of sounds that exist already is not allowed." In that time, he has also adhered to a more internal directive that insists his albums make a greater sociopolitical statement. The new Scale release was created using the sounds of weaponry (more than 700 objects, including a Royal Air Force Tornado bomber and grenades) — yet the music itself could easily be mistaken for a happy-go-lucky disco jam session.

DJ types first learned of Herbert through his now-defunct Wishmountain project, which released underground singles. One of its best offerings is "Royal Wedding" (1995), which looped Prince Charles and Lady Di's now tragic wedding vows into a brain-melting slice of cacophony; the same year, he rocked an asthma inhaler into a funky dance number ("Asthma Inhaler"). Ten years later, Herbert's Plat Du Jour made animal activists rejoice with its commentary on barbaric food production — "The Truncated Life of a Modern Industrialised Chicken" gets its shuffle from, among other things, 4,000 chickens hemmed in a coop and 24,000 1-minute-old chicks. 2001's The Mechanics of Destruction (recorded as Radio Boy) commented on American capitalism by getting rid of some of its most powerful symbols: the angry crackles in "McDonalds" were derived from shredding a Big Mac — fantastic fun when recreated live. While it might not literally be bombs away during Herbert's rare live performance in S.F., prepare to take cover as he drops even more unconventional surprises.

About The Author

Tamara Palmer

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