MATTHEW HERBERT – “SCORE”
release date: March 26th, 2007 The internationally acclaimed composer, DJ and electronic studio wizard Matthew Herbert goes to the movies on his latest album Score. Showcasing yet another of his multiple musical personalities, these 17 tracks cover the first decade in Herbert’s burgeoning sideline as a writer of film scores, alongside a unique ballet collaboration.
Over the past decade, Herbert has amassed an unsurpassed portfolio of highly praised releases under his own name as well as Doctor Rockit, Wishmountain, Radio Boy, Transformer and others. He has also produced and remixed artists as diverse as Björk, Roisin Murphy, REM, John Cale, Yoko Ono and Serge Gainsbourg. And he draws on all aspects of this prolific musical career on Score - from the sun-scorched melodrama of Santiago Tabernero’s Spanish film about the death of Franco Vida Y Color to the haunted pianos of Kristian Levring’s colonial yarn The Intended, via the pure electronics of Indiscretion and the avant-classical minimalism of Rendezvous.
Of course, the collaborative process of scoring films is very different to Herbert’s usual auteur approach to composing house music and experimental electronica. Consequently, Score contains some of his most traditional and straightforward pieces to date. His 2003 big-band jazz album Goodbye Swingtime, for example, grew out of his artfully retro-modern score for the French director Blanca Li’s hip-hop musical, Le Defi.
And yet Herbert’s trademark dedication to precise detail and conceptual rigour remains as strong as ever on Score. Each project boasts its own distinct musical language and sonic vocabulary, invariably sourced on location and thematically linked to the film in question. Mostly composed for independent European productions, the diversity of sounds and arrangements on this album is firmly at odds with the one-size-fits-all orchestral backdrop heard on most Hollywood blockbusters.
“One thing I really find artistically bankrupt is this idea that a 19th century symphony orchestra is the sole appropriate medium for a big budget movie, regardless of the genre”, Herbert says. “The idea that this could work for a futuristic film like Minority Report, which is entirely set in the future, or a film like Troy, which is set thousands of years in the past, is totally absurd. Too often there is no attempt to think about the music in direct relation to the film.”
This is certainly not the case with Score. Although it may not be immediately apparent, much of the album adheres to Herbert’s self-imposed musical rulebook, the Personal Contract for the Composition of Music. Devised in 2000, the PCCOM prohibits the use of pre-set keyboard sounds, drum machines, or secondary musical sources. Originality is paramount. “Whether the director is bothered about it or not, this is very important to me,” says Herbert. “I don’t ever want to make music that exists in a context-less vacuum.”
Score is a widescreen blockbuster epic of challenging, stirring, exhilarating soundscapes. It is an action adventure, chase thriller, romantic comedy and emotionally charged psychodrama all rolled into one. Fasten your seatbelt and let Herbert take you to the movies.
1. FUNERAL from Vida Y Color (2005)
2. END from Vida Y Color (2005)
3. Rivoli Shuffle from Le Défi (2001)
4. The Apartment from Le Défi (2001)
5. SINGING IN THE RAIN from Le Défi (2001)
6. CAFE DE FLORE (TRIO REPRISE) from Le Défi (2001)
7. GANG OF BOYS from Vida Y Color (2005)
8. BLOOD AND HAIR rejected music from Manolete (2006/2007)
9. BULL AND CLOTH rejected music from Manolete (2006/2007)
10. RENDEZVOUS score for Set Boundaries, a piece by The Bonachela Dance Company 2006
11. INDISCRETION alternate version from Indiscretion, a short film (2005)
12. FOREST MONTAGE from The Intended (2002)
13. BROKEN PIANO from The Intended (2002)
14. TRISTESSE from La Confiance Règne (2004)
15. RUNNING FROM THE CREDITS from La Confiance Règne (2004)
16. NICOTINE from Nicotine, a short film (1997)
17. CLOSING THEME from The Intended (2002)