Matthew Herbert: The End Of Silence (Accidental Records)
Matthew Herbert is renowned for taking sounds not many people would even consider using and creating beautiful and unsettling electronica and The End of Silence is no exception says Simon Tucker.
Made up of three parts, the entire piece revolves around a single sampled sound which Matthew and his band (Yann Seznec, Tom Skinner, and Sam Beste) contort and manipulate to create a living and breathing piece of art. When that sample in question is a recording of a pro-Gadaffi plane dropping a bomb during the battle of Ras Lanuf in Libya, you can safely assume that this is not going to be an easy listen.
Part One opens with said sample and the sounds of dogs barking before morphing into industrial terror. In and out float stuttering dub rhythms underneath a sheer onslaught of noise. The mind invokes images of terror and destruction with odd moments of serenity. At almost twenty five minutes long, the listener must commit to the piece and let their mind wander in whatever direction they feel right.
Part Two opens up with a funk drum pattern before bursting into Squarpusher drill territory. The bombing sample is played with more on this piece and when the dogs barking return, Part Two becomes more and more sinister. Eventually what sounds like gunfire emerges resulting in an added techno feel.
What resembles mortar rounds exploding in and around you kick-starts Part Three. Another eighteen minute plus track, Part Three contains more traditional build and drop feel (well, more traditional than what has gone before it anyway) before the rug gets pulled from underneath us and we are thrown into silence. The silence is almost as hard to listen to as the noise that has proceeded it and as it lasts for over a minute you find yourself waiting for the ‘bomb to drop’ again. Like the feeling you get watching a Pasolini movie, it is impossible to turn away even though your stomach is turning inside out.
The End Of Silence is an art piece created by one of electronica’s greats. Extremely uncomfortable, yet equally intriguing and gripping, this is something that would be hard to listen to if you are of a certain disposition but if you do engage with Matthew Herbert the rewards are endless.
War is hell indeed.