Thursday, August 31, 2006

Herbert, the sampling wizard who infuses every sound he uses in his work with political import, is one of electronic music's great muckrakers. Last year's Plat Du Jour, for instance, was a musique concrete slab of anti-food-industry fury, using sounds recorded from crumpling McDonald's packages and the frenzied clucks of factory-tortured chickens to get Herbert's point across in arguably heavy-handed fashion. But his work on Roisin Murphy's recent Ruby Blue seems to have reawakened the British producer's sometimes dormant sense of pop melody. His new Scale (Accidental) is downright happy-sounding-until, that is, until one delves into the lyrics. Lines such as "I just don’t know how to bring about your downfall, damn fool / Go figure out how those Christian bones can orchestrate shock and awe" leave little doubt as to where he stands on matters of the day. Despite his reputation for not suffering interviewers gladly, TONY took a gamble and called Herbert, who's performing live at Irving Plaza on Wednesday 23, in Barcelona as he prepared for a gig.

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