Composer Matthew Herbert wears a hodgepodge of musical hats spanning DJ fare, remixes, electronica, arranging and film scoring. Armed with a vast imagination and the technical goods to support his visions, these works transmit his scores for a string of European flicks. And when asked why he hasn’t cracked the American market, Herbert cites the politics involved unless you have a "high-powered agent" at the helm and all the red-tape that would seemingly follow.
In essence, this album portrays Herbert as a colorist who excels at providing layered, sub-themes within the context of his variable works. No doubt his broad musical tastes and influences shine glitteringly here. With these acoustic-electric compositions it is easy to discern why the artist would be summoned for soundtrack-based employment. On "Rivoli Shuffle," culled from the 2001 movie "La Defi," he melds big band charts highlighted by bouncy syncopated rhythms, quaint piano motifs and wah-wah horn choruses. Then with the old favorite "Singing in the Rain," Herbert intersperses the primary big-band centric theme with a cosmic meltdown, and to cite his per-track liners, he was pushed into this deconstruction exercise by the film’s director. In other regions, he employs a choral group to sing atop ambient-electronic frameworks, where contrasts abound. During "Rendezvous," he implements tinker-bell like keyboard phrasings underneath the chorale group called "The Sixteen," while fusing torpedo bullet tapes/samples used in Iraq for the percussion sounds.
Herbert’s piece from the movie "The Intended," parlays a Brian Eno-like and therapeutic ambient sound that uncannily emanates from acoustic instruments. Therefore, it’s a diverse mix, indeed. And one that induces a magnetic appeal from a hodgepodge of counterbalancing angles.