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Matthew Herbert can hardly be called a one-trick pony. Leaving his background in classical violin early on in his career, he has traversed many genres of dance music with his Doctor Rockit, Wishmountain and Herbert aliases. He has also conducted his own jazz big band and scored films and dance productions. This abundance of experience with different styles, however, is not what defines Herbert: it’s just his unique approach to making music.

The backbone of Herbert’s musical creative process is a set of simple rules (which can be read in full in his manifesto available on his website), and these govern his musical output. His self-imposed rules include strictly using sounds he creates or records himself (no sampling other people’s work), and placing an equal importance on both musical “accidents” and prewritten ideas. His choice of sounds is what gives his compositions that different twang: His “Bodily Functions” album from 2001 used recordings of various sounds of the human body, and 2005’s “Plat du Jour” utilized the sounds of a variety of foodstuffs, in part prepared by experimental chef Heston Blumenthal.

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