The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

September 05, 2005

Channeling (2)

Matthew Herbert: Plat du jour For example, Matthew Herbert's Plat du jour is a record that seemed almost overdue because the idea that fueled it has been part of our daily discourse for a while now, and was only waiting to be turned into a concept album. And by that I mean "concept album" in the sense of "concept art", seeing how meticulously Herbert researched and prepared this record.

"the ultimate modern compromise: brown bread is nutritionally better for you but contains 5 times more pesticide residues (due to the milling process) than white bread."

Herbert's dissatisfaction with industrial food that contains so many additives that some of it is unsuitable for small children and that seems to be more unhealthy than nourishing, led him to make a record based entirely on food.

"my personal favourite is Shrek cereal: a tie-in with a film that says you can still be loved if you are fat, used to sell heavily-processed breakfast cereal that, ahem, makes you fat."

All the instruments played on this record are food or food packaging: be they 30,000 chickens, a bottle of branded water, 60 coffee beans dropped into a can of weedkiller, or two slices of toast and an electric toaster -- you name it, it's there, and it's always closely linked to the topic of the respective song. The cover art is food colourings on chromatography paper, with information about their adverse effects on health.

ricetec patent no. 5663484: this is the patent number in which ricetec, a texas agribusiness firm, attempts to patent basmati rice, a plant neither created by ricetec nor indigenous to america.

As for the music on this record, I think I might like it better if I were more into electronca and house. The musical ideas are good and remarkably varied, but not entirely the kind of thing I usually listen to, so I fear my expertise here is not too sound. At any rate, I like it surprisingly much, especially for the first 45 minutes or so. However, it seems that there isn't enough musical variation in here to fill a full 60 minutes, and so the last few tracks drag on a bit, even though they contain funny ideas, such as the dinner prepared by Nigella Lawson for George Bush and Tony Blair being driven over by a battle tank. Also, the lyrics of the one non-instrumental song are fairly poor and rather flat, but the instrumentals more than make up for this. Overall, you simply have to appreciate this album for the thoroughness with which the artistic concept has been carried out and the amount of work that has been put into it.

"the bpm of the track [fatter, slimmer, faster, slower] is 85 since 85% of british girls have tried dieting by the age of 13"

All the quotations are from the record's liner notes. Matthew Herbert's website is at

Posted by Horst on September 5, 2005 09:57 AM to reviews | Tell-a-friend

laura said on September 5, 2005 07:27 PM:

fascinating..makes me want to hear the songs. I loved the Shrek comments.

Horst said on September 5, 2005 10:35 PM:

You can listen to samples on Herbert's website.

Unfortunately, the samples are only the first 30 seconds or so of the songs, and in many cases these aren't really representative.

Jamie said on October 21, 2005 11:14 AM:

Found your site interesting
you could try
If you wanted to listen to the show
Jamie Harley (Matts Engineer)

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