Release Date: Mar 29, 2019
Record label: Accidental
Matthew Herbert was once a people-pleasing house DJ, but over the past decade he has become known primarily as an eccentric. His high-concept themes and unorthodox methods--manipulating samples from aerial warfare, a pig's life, and other artifacts of consumerism--tend to overshadow the producer and composer's core mission: an earnest campaign to make us consider not just sounds but also their sources, and to experience both as equals. The project has a forbiddingly post-modern ring to it, so it's worth stressing that the best entry point to The State Between Us, his sprawling and guest-packed Brexit album, is also the easiest: Go in blind, and let his collage of jazz, house, blues and politically loaded field recordings lead your curiosity.
My Brexit is a forwarded WhatsApp meme linking the pro-Leave "Grand Wizards" to the KKK. My Brexit is laughing at Marina Hyde's takedowns. My Brexit is thinking that I understand the indicative voting process and then realising that I don't. My Brexit is withdrawing from the news cycle, engaging with the news cycle and then withdrawing again.
Matthew Herbert is a meticulous man. It's a safe bet that every field recording he uses will be loaded with meaning, and that it will all be in aid of a concept that will be executed in a nuanced, interesting way. It is on this basis that a 2-hour-long album about Brexit - recorded and released within the Article 50 withdrawal period - seems like a decent idea, despite the whole vexed issue now mainly provoking apathy in this reviewer and, one suspects, much of the country.