Monday, June 9, 2008

The Matthew Herbert Big Band - Turning Pages



Matthew Herbert, aka Dr. Rockit, Wishmountain, Radio Boy, amongst many, is best known for his experimental electronic, electro and deep house tracks, but at the Jazzaldia Festival in San Sebastian, Spain, he brought out the big band.

As outlined in his manifesto, his instrumentation, although electronic, is exclusively organic and self-made; no presets, no samples of other music and no drum machines. At first listen, many of his tracks sound like they use standard drum machines, samplers and synthesizers but if you listen closely, you'll hear that his work has a unique timbre and a rich sound often missing in cookie-cutter electronicaca.

A few years back, XLR8R asked Herbert about his most indispensable piece of gear. I was quite pleased to see that it was the SONY MZ-R37 Portable Minidisc Recorder. I love my MZ-R37, it was one of the best purchases I've ever made. It is well over eight years old and it's been dropped down stairs, stepped on, spilled on and it still kicks ass. The think is a tank and it makes great field recordings. Truly a magnificent item. The only flaws, minor ones at that, are that it was designed for tiny fingers and it eats up batteries like a school of piranhas. Since minidiscs are pretty much dead media in the U.S., it's difficult to find discs and accessories off the shelf. However, there are a number of minidisc enthusiasts on the web and there's still ample supply online.

Oh yeah, it looks like there will be another Matthew Herbert Big Band album out this fall. You can listen to the first one here.

Good Matthew Herbert fansite
Matthew Herbert on Last.fm

2 comments:

Alan Evil said...

I have an MZ-R37 as well! I'm getting ready to take it out and record the 17 year cicadas here in Louisville.

Last time I looked they still had five packs of minidiscs at Circuit City.

John M. said...

Occasionally I see them at the Best Buy here, but that's about it.