Herbert/Various Secondhand Sounds

Matthew Herbert strikes again, and in all the right places. Few contemporary producers have been able to carve such a distinctive sound while remaining so fluid and open, yet Herbert seems to do so effortlessly. This collection gathers remixes both rare and released, allowing us to appreciate his versatility as he alternately works with non-linear delicacy and drops raunchy 4/4 beats. Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvaer's abstract jazz piece "Merciful" is transformed into a dubby, skippy, melancholic mover. The soulful house of Presence "Future Love" is lovingly reworked with a pre-rave meets jazzy house kind of twist. Herbert's "gutter dub" of "Street Lullaby," by Two Banks of Four, strips the beautiful original to make it all the more captivating. Here, vocals float gracefully over piano, minimised strings and Herbert's distinctive programming. His take on Terra Deva's love-torn "Fresh Start" ups the emotional ante; if this were a fruit, it would be a pomegranate. There's no doubt that Herbert plays well with others, climbing inside people's work while virtually reconstructing it to make each his own. But it takes a true talent to remix oneself and truly make change. Again, the producer is up to the task, upping the tempo, bass and sensuality of "The Last Beat" while bringing more of his edgy techno-touched flavours to the kicks, clicks and bits filled "Banquet." The techno vibes continue into the second CD, with Herbert's "Suddenly" ripped up in a robot stylee, Recloose's "Can't Take It" feeling dubby, squiggly and oh so human, and Dimbiman's "Koppchen" turned into a fun, hands in the air slice of dubby techno. Add brilliant remixes of Moloko, Serge Gainsbourg, Herbert alter-ego Wishmountain and many others and it's easy to be in awe. There's not a weak moment, let alone mix, here. (Peacefrog)