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Goodbye Swingtime

The Matthew Herbert Big Band

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iTunes Review

When Matthew Herbert released Goodbye Swingtime in 2003, it took a lot of his fans by surprise. Had the conceptually oriented electronica artist suddenly become a big band leader? It turns out that the move didn’t come out of nowhere; Herbert had played in a swing outfit as a teenager. Goodbye Swingtime comes off as an excellent modern big band album with a difference. The first cut, “Turning Pages,” seduces the listener with its lush, Gil Evans-like textures, but it’s clear that Herbert didn’t leave his conceptual leanings behind. One of the noises that opens the track is presumably the sound of someone flipping through a book by the linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, who is alluded to in the liner notes. A number of vocalists appear on the album, including Herbert associate Dani Siciliano (“Chromoshop” and “Simple Mind”), Jamie Lidell (“Everything’s Changed” and “The Many and the Few”), and Arto Lindsay (“Fiction”). “Stationary,” an instrumental, wraps things up. After an appealingly drone-like intro, the horns weave lush tapestries over electronic flutterings. There really isn’t another big band — or electronica artist — that sounds like this.

Goodbye Swingtime, The Matthew Herbert Big Band
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