Behold! British artist, producer, composer and experimentalist Matthew Herbert has announced the release of a new album. Entitled The Horse, the record is a collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra and saw Herbert enlist an incredible cast of guest contributors, including Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings and Theon Cross, Evan Parker, regular Wayne Shorter collaborator Danilo Pérez, Polar Bear’s Seb Rochford and Kokoroko’s Edward Wakili-Hick. A search for the largest possible animal skeleton that could be explored sonically served as the origin for the album, which is based around a full-size horse skeleton. “One of the major narrative arcs through the album”, describes the press release, “is its representation of the evolution of human music itself, opening in a compelling, primitive flurry of custom-made flutes from the horse’s thigh bones and bows crafted from ribs and horse hair”.
The importance of the horse in human history became crucial for the album, and Herbert undertook recordings from various sources including 6900 horse sounds culled from the internet, reverb impulses in front of ancient cave paintings of horses in Northern Spain and sounds recorded at the corner of Epsom race course where women’s suffrage activist Emily Davison was trampled by King George V’s racehorse in 1913. Herbert has also used horse skin drums and a shaker shaped from a mixture of cement and polo horse semen. To help with creating or carving the instruments out of the skeleton, Herbert commissioned instrument makers Sam Underwood, Graham Dunning, Henry Dagg and Lee Patterson.
The Horse arrives on May 26th through Modern Recordings / BMG and to celebrate the release, Herbert has shared the triumphant and propulsive lead track, ‘The Horse Has A Voice’, featuring Theon Cross. We can’t control the impulse to play it again and again. Check it out below.