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Techno doesn't just have to be pure hedonism. The DJ Matthew Herbert explains in his poetic book 34; the music 34; how socially critical pop might sound.

Matthew Herbert: What are we dancing for?

Techno doesn't just have to be pure hedonism. The DJ Matthew Herbert explains in his poetic book 34; the music 34; how socially critical pop might sound.

Matthew Herbert: What are we dancing for?

Making music – just for your own sake? Nothing for Matw Herbert. His music always has a political fundamental, even without words, and you can dance to it. More than 25 years ago, he began sampling McDonald's packaging and chips bags, building his techno tracks from sounds that sometimes his immediate environment. Each sound has a history of origin – and music composed of many such sounds can tell all se stories. The Briton has long been regarded as an idiosyncratic conceptist, who has transferred Pierre Schaeffer idea of concrete music from 1950s to pop of present.

Matw Herbert says that seriously. He has a drastic critique of a globalized abundance society, pointing to political and ecological grievances, commenting on modern life plans. From cackling of laying hens he created 2005 Tanztrack The truncated life of a modern Industrialised chicken. For one Pig (2009) He had drums, Drumsticks and a pig blood organ built and played from a slaughtered pig. And in end of Silence (2015), he denies an entire album with a transmission occurs countdown sound recording of a Libyan bomb attack in a thousand times processed form.

Herbert, who was also active as Radioboy, Wishmountain or doctor Rockit, thinks music. And his thinking now includes writing. Why do we need music? What are conditions for this enjoyment? How can she criticize? And what does it mean that we dance to a track – while a US president, for example, breaks with his international partners? His reflections are now in book The music, published in British Crowdfunding-Verlag Unbound. It gives se questions a particularly effective poetic radicalism.

As disappointing as it may be – when it comes to origin of sounds, language can sometimes tell more than sounds mselves. Matw Herbert seems to be facing a big problem: he wants to make world audible, but entirety of all noisy processes is not publicly available. and imitation is forbidden. When Angela Merkel and Barack Obama toast champagne glasses at dinner in private circle, how is musician supposed to come to this sound? How about totality of all handshakes that were ever made between two friends?

From concrete music to concrete poetry

In music, Herbert has now written exactly what he would like to hear, but is practically unable to record. He turns tables and describes sound scenes that do not exist in real terms, but which evoke precisely politically charged worlds of meaning that musician imagines. "This melody," he writes, for example, "sounds like outcry of a popular instrument incorrectly referred to as somehow Asian, but in fact it comes from braking squeaks of cream-colored Mercedes taxi, which is some sleepy white Americans pick up from airport. "

Like a film director, he attaches ordinary, unnoticed or ominous things, people and events to almost endless concatenations. In prelude, opening of book, oceans first rush, n continental plates and thus people sleeping on m move in many countries. Later, Herbert draws reader into a contemplation of a few dozen things that make splashing noises. Or: A skateboard rolls through Katzenkot, a child in a refugee camp near Calais enters an empty plastic bottle, rubbish press in car of city cleaning MALMT and crunches, valve explodes in a bromine factory, a doctor pushes remains of her kebab into Trash. It is left to public to read a statement from se association chains of sound events.

From concrete music to concrete poetry, it is only a small step for Matw Herbert. Sometimes his sound poems are also graphically striking set. The lyrics in music continue to report on actions and attitudes behind sounds, and of course fascination of audible and inaudible sounds that are produced all while and everywhere and are all too seldom perceived. "We dazzle over into anor sound-180,000 hotel-minibar-refrigerators, many of m empty, grim and unison."

On 224 pages of book, Herbert continues to build up monstrous, global soundscapes to confront m with actions of individual people. His activist message always shines through: we are all responsible for what is happening on Earth. In a total of twelve chapters with classical Satzbezeichungen such as Allegro or Andante, which seem almost ironic in this context, Herbert imagines best of all possible musical worlds in his view – one in which all ambivalences between luxury and poverty , between privileges and exploitation.

Eighteen years ago, Matw Herbert invented bioseal of music, in his dogma P.C.C.C.O.M., on disclosure of origin of all sounds in his productions. His book The music is now radical formulation of this aestic-political thought. It would be no disadvantage if school did.

Matw Herbert: "The Music: a Novel Through Sound", unbound 2018, 224 pages, €12.95

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