Matthew Herbert: A Preamble

The visionary Matthew Herbert will be appearing in discussion at Stoke Newington Studios on Monday 17 November.

Matthew Herbert

The mad scientist look-a-like will be open to a Q&A session and there are few more intelligent and prescient characters to interrogate. I expect many people to shrink in awe at the sight of Herbert’s gigantic cranium – one quietly hopes not at the size of it, but at the creative brain that lies within it. One thing that I find particularly interesting about Herbert’s artistic aesthetic is his enduring vision for a fusion of politics and music into a singular discourse. If not politics, then at least current affairs, with the ultimate goal of making music culturally relevant in our modern age.

“If you were an alien and tried to deduce what was going on in the world from the bestselling music of the past 100 years you would struggle,” he said. “Whereas there is much more connection between the worlds of literature and visual art and what’s going on in the world.”

Case in point – The End of Silence, a record solely comprised of a 5 second audio recording made by photographer Sebastian Meyer during the battle of Ras Lanuf in Libya on 11th March 2011. What ensues ensues is a three part experimental breakdown of the recording. Chopped, stretched, layered, fragmented and all agglomerated into less than an hour. Herbert’s desire to quite literally make the music politically current is clearly at play here.

Does he regard the “bestselling music of the past 100 years” to be flavourless, disengaged and above all undermined by their lack of political purpose? Should music be a form of protest? Is self-expression inherently a form of passive protest or a manifestation of liberty? Maybe it’s a good thing that music can be free from this political burden or responsibility. Perhaps it goes to show that music is the ultimate freedom of expression unattached to things going on. On the contrary, how much influence can music have as a social control? What does Matthew think? I hope to get some answers.

Audience members should come prepared with questions of their own. After all, we have to give him a good audience. Just like in a gig with the DJ and the crowd, during a discussion it’s just the same symbiotic dynamic with a speaker and audience; the energy that is shared and used by one another is also bounced from one to the other.

See you Monday!

Full details of Herbert’s talk here.

The weekend following the general election in 2015, Herbert co-curates a programme of songs of protest and hope in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Society performed by the London Sinfonietta, compositions which hope to influence society and embody political expression. Check out more details here.

Matthew DJs @ Dance Tunnel in London on 22 November. Facebook event here.


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