Album Review: Matthew Herbert / ‘The End of Silence’ (Accidental)

Matthew Herbert The End of Silence


Ambitious even by Matthew Herbert’s individual, shapeshifter standards intended to send synopsis writers scurrying, The End of Silence imagines the aftermath, aftershock and flashback of a bomb going off. Obviously not as simple as that, a three-part improvisation of musique concrete with real meaning, composed as a left-for-dead transmission and depicting a grim need for survival when deciding whether to lie low or make a run for it, attempts to make sense (if there is any sense to be gleaned) of such callousness. Without cheapening the sentiment, the bare bones are: the explosion hits (a real-life Libyan field recording), Herbert reacts.

Clearly you’re gonna have to get into the right frame of mind before taking this on (make sure the surround sound is sorted as well), and also understand Herbert’s development of his muse was far from the frontline but envisioned in a UK barn. Though anomalous throughout each episode, it’s rare for there to be any moments of deathly silence. Herbert and his think-tank band convey more the suspended shock of being adjacent to the blast, gunfire and combat still in muffled earshot in anticipation of further detonations. As confusion reigns a disorientating peace persists bordering on misplaced optimism, jumping like paused videotape while eerie runs of electricity tangle with genuine melody.

Ears ringing, stomach knotting, heart racing, Herbert slips you in and out of consciousness, pulls you underground and makes you scrabble back upwards toward daylight.

File under: Global Communication, Plaid, Mouse on Mars

Matt Oliver

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