Matthew Herbert Enlists UK Jazz Stars for New Album Made From Horse Skeleton, Shares Song: Listen

Mateo Herbertthe eccentric composer, house producer, and jazz bandleader, made an album using instruments made from a horse skeleton. The horse features UK jazz greats old and new—including Shabaka Hutchins, Evan Parker, Polar Bear’s Seb Rochford, and Kokoroko’s Edward Wakili-Hick—as well as the likes of Wayne Shorter collaborator Danilo Pérez and the London Contemporary Orchestra. (Guests usually play non-horse instruments.) Below, listen to a single, “The Horse Has A Voice,” featuring Theon Cross. The album will be released on May 26 via Modern Recordings/BMG.

Instruments include horse skin drums, flutes made from thigh bones, arrows made from ribs and hair, gut strings stretched over the pelvis, and a shaker made from by mixing cement with horse semen. The album also features reverb recorded alongside old paintings of horses in northern Spain and field recordings from Epsom racecourse, where suffragette Emily Davison was trampled by King George V’s racehorse in 1913. Herbert gathered also more than 6900 horse sounds from the internet, according to the press release. Instrument makers include Sam Underwood, Graham Dunning, Henry Dagg and Lee Patterson.

Last year, Herbert teamed up with Barbara Panther to release an album as Muramuke; he put a home album the year before that, and a Big band Brexit-themed LP in 2019. Fans will remember his last full-on foray into animal horror: 2011’s A Pig.

Read about Herbert’s early explorations in dance music and find the sound in Pitchfork’s rundown of “The 30 Best House Tracks of the ’90s.”

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