Matthew Herbert – The End of Silence

Album Review by Sam Wiseman | 11 Jun 2013
Album title: The End of Silence
Artist: Matthew Herbert
Label: Accidental
Release date: 24 Jun

Utilising a single ten-second audio recording as the sole sound source for an entire LP, Matthew Herbert has created one of his boldest and most thought-provoking releases to date. The recording in question is of a pro-Gaddafi plane bombing Ra’s Lanuf during the 2011 Libyan civil war; Herbert created bespoke sample instruments, each using different elements of the sound, which were then played live by his quartet –ingeniously marrying electronic manipulation with a free jazz approach.

Herbert’s declared intention is to ‘freeze history, press pause, wander around inside the sound,’ although the experience of listening to the stretched and distorted mutations that comprise The End of Silence is often more claustrophobic than that implies; the combination of nightmarish inexorability and sonic unpredictability makes it simultaneously visceral and conceptually challenging. Needless to say, it’s not as accessible as some of Herbert’s material, but it’s among his most daring and imaginative works. [Sam Wiseman]