Herbert – ‘Part 8’ (Accidental)

After spending time on projects that were a little austere in nature, Matthew Herbert felt like it was time to get back to basics and “start writing music for fun again”. Taking a break from all the seriousness of his various politically-minded and socially-consciousness endeavours, the mercurial producer decided revisit the “Part” series he originally launched in 1995 on the defunct Phono imprint. Now three releases into the reboot and there’s a general consensus that a return to the more house-minded moniker had been long overdue.

Rather than being bound by the context of the instruments used or field recordings he’d procured, this series has allowed the veteran producer to tap into his imaginative side as a main source of inspiration. Ringing particularly true on the opener, the sickly-sweet vocals of frequent collaborator Rahel are dissected and arranged over a woozy construction that stutters and stammers along in true Herbert style.

‘Remember Ken’ takes a step away from the jaunty mood coursing through the rest of the series however, and for the first time we see the sultry diva vocals dropped in favour of some male accompaniment. It sort of comes out of left field, all graceful and polished, with Kindness and Amy Winehouse collaborator Ade Omotayo crooning along to the rising strings and minimalist framework, but it’s a pleasant change of pace.

Cut from the same cloth as Part 7’s ‘Sucker’, the pounding Techno march of ‘Ticket’ is supplemented by some warbling, bleeping robotics. In a similar vein, Herbert brings an end to proceedings by propelling 4/4 rhythms into a dreamlike haze of tranquil pads and looped acoustic melodies that alongside its predecessor, showcases an unflinching and masterful use of repetition. A fitting end to the series, ‘Her Face’ stands out as a highlight of a Herbert revival that’s seen one of electronic music’s more peculiar characters remind everybody that he doesn’t take life too seriously.

‘Part 8’ is out now on Accidental. Buy it here.

Matthew Blair

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