Music Reviews

The Matthew Herbert Big Band

Goodbye Swingtime



Just wow.

Electro wunderkind Matthew Herbert just never ceases to amaze. If there is wrong, he really doesn’t know how to do it. Either as Herbert or Radioboy or Doctor Rockit or now as a big band leader, MH is constantly pushing the music forward. His quirky sound remains idiosyncratic without floating into hubris’ oblivion and losing the crowd.

Now, Herbert has taken his found sound vision to the big band, and I promise, you will be astounded, all agog in the wonder of Goodbye Swingtime. As the title suggests, this is not the Dorsey or Benny Goodman your grandparents fought the war with. Company B is definitely without its boogie woogie bugle boy. Instead, Herbert uses his big band as an orchestra, crafting a melancholic, melodious sound that he later de-/reconstructed in the studio. Much of it will remind you of later Ellington, earlier Quincy Jones (circa Walking in Space), or some groovy Oliver Nelson with a definite neo-soul-ish edge.

Herbert has a suite jazz sound that integrates the form with his particular electronic sound. It’s a startling and inspiring re-envisioning of the big band sound. Melodic and somber with a lot of soul, this is an amazing endeavor with some truly beautiful moments (especially with vocalists Dani Siciliano, Arto Lindsay, Mara Carlyle, who’s absolutely magical on “fiction,” and Jamie Lidell lending their throats). You will simply be overwhelmed and feel utterly silly when all you can mutter is “Wow.”

Accidental Records:

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