Just a few months on from his preceding reworkings of Jamie Lidell, Matthew Herbert returns with another download only four track EP on Hypercolour that’s aimed straight at the dancefloor, enlisting the vocals of rising UK soul star Zilla on the title track. In its original mix form, ‘Brand New Love’ offers up what’s easily this EP’s most stripped down and eerie moment as Zilla’s vaguely Prince-tinged harmonies glide ghostlike over an ominous backdrop of ticking broken rhythms, bass drops and distorted and reverbed out chords, the underlying sense of ambient crawl lending the whole track a vaguely post-witch-house feel.
By contrast, Paul Woolford’s remix under his Special Request alias continues the breaks renaissance that seems to be going on this month as skittering breakbeats glide against vast distorted bass drops and sheeny synth sweeps, but just as you least expect it, vast orchestral strings suddenly emerge into the foreground as the crisp broken rhythms enter more contemplative and ambient territory, the dark bass swells that prowl beneath adding to the sense of moodiness. The two solo Matthew Herbert tracks on offer here also manage to be no less impressive, if not easily more eccentric.
‘The Peacock’ offers up an extroverted strut through shuffling house rhythms that sees sub-aquatic sounding reverbed synths wafting against gamecore organs and jangling piano stabs, the entire track rolling with a curiously jazzy feel, before jangling guitar chords and rattling samples enter the frame. Finally, ‘Cheekbone’ closes this EP with its most thundering moment as rave-y synth stabs dart against deep rumbling bass and skittering broken-house rhythms, the disembodied looped fragments of vocal samples that flit through adding to the sense of menace as robotic bleeps pulse and burble in the foreground. Another characteristically excellent EP from Matthew Herbert that’s pretty much all killer, no filler.