Release Date: 16th September 2022
10 years since the consumerist musings of Tesco, Matthew Herbert reanimates his Wishmountain project and heads deep underground to find the source material for Stonework: 1000 metres down.
Like many of Herbert’s projects, Wishmountain releases revolve around specific, material sound palettes, and for this latest album he’s drawn from a sample library created as a commission for the Stone Techno festival, which took place at the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein mine in Essen, Germany. Working with sound recordist Lorenzo Dal Ri, Herbert and Dan Pollard captured a varied and wide variety of hits, tones, textures and one-shots from the frozen-in-time remnants of the Ruhr region’s coal-mining industry and from specific materials in the nearby Ruhr Museum and Mineralien-Museum. A sample library created by Matthew and Dan of the recordings was also used for the Stone Techno series, from which tracks have been commissioned by the likes of Luke Slater, Megan Leber, Ben Sims and KiNK drawing from the same sounds heard on this album.
These stone-cast sounds lend themselves to the Wishmountain framework – skeletal, quasi-industrial techno with an angular impulse and a subtle swing. Much like the breakthrough hit, 1996’s ‘Radio’ (made using samples of a broken radio), the limitations on the source material sharpen the focus of the music. What started out as a practical hardware restriction in the early 90s became a purposeful way of working for Herbert – one which carried through the 1999 album Wishmountainisdead to 2012’s Tesco with its sampling of the British supermarket chain’s 10 most popular products.
Musically, Stonework is consistent terrain for Wishmountain – austere and forbidding in one sense, playful and irreverent in another. But from a club music perspective, which Wishmountain absolutely is, it offers DJs a variety of rhythmic formations within the tool-like minimalism of the arrangements, opening up intriguing possibilities for mixing into, out of, or somewhere in between. For every 4/4 thrust and jerk there is a fractured, snaking meditation pivoting around other time signatures.
Crystal clear in its creative intention and simultaneously successful as surface-level club music, Stonework: 1000 Metres Down is a natural continuation for one of Herbert’s most celebrated, albeit intermittent, aliases.
b5. WalkMore Like Wishmountain - Stonework: 1000 Metres Down [12" Vinyl LP]