A man of multiple identities, Matthew Herbert has elected to wind up his [a]Wishmountain[/a] persona with this 16-track anthology. Originating in the no-man’s-land between theatre and performance art, [a]Wishmountain[/a] pieces fall into simple and distinct categories. The majority derive both title and sound from a single object, such as ‘Pepper Pot’, ‘Jam Jar’, ‘Bottle’, ‘Salad Tosser’ or – my personal favourite – ‘Crisps’.
Like Aphex or Spooky before him, Herbert uses household objects as percussion and sampling sources, constructing montages of found sound which are always highly precise and often slyly amusing. As well as the above delights, your ears might convince you that spoons, washboards, bed springs, bicycle pumps and other pinpoint sound effects are bouncing around inside your cranium.
Herbert is also fond of droll vocal collages, splicing up Murray Walker‘s histrionic outbursts for ‘Grand Prix’ and TV golf commentary for, ahem, ‘Golf’. Then there’s ‘Royal Wedding’, which loops Charles and Diana‘s marriage vows into a hypnotic, oddly unsettling mantra. Sandwiched between chilly ambient pulses and stark Plastikman-style percussive tapestries, these deadpan experiments in minimalist improvisation make for coldly entertaining listening, but no more than that. ‘Wishmountain Is Dead’ plays like a sketchbook of smart but self-referential sonic gimmicks which ultimately lack content or context.