Matthew Herbert 

100 lbs.

In 2006 Herbert released Scale, a lush and accessible jazz-disco-house masterpiece. It was resoundingly applauded and made many critics' year-end lists. Successful album, legions of new fans ... what's a label to do? Rerelease, of course. Fortunately, 100 lbs. (1996) isn't just an afterthought dredged from the take-it-to-the-bank bin. Rather, it's a digitally remastered and expanded two-CD window into the development of one of the most creative, deliberate, and progressive musicians working today. Herbert was originally a house producer, and these are unabashed house tracks. They differentiate themselves, however, with a mix of humor and warmth — a refreshing departure from many of the mind-numbing, club-thumping beats of the era. By and large, these songs have an agile, spirited feel. "Fishcoteque" bubbles and fizzes through an underwater disco. "Pen," brimming with off-kilter sampling and drum programming, grooves along for nearly five minutes without even the faintest suggestion of a melody. "The Puzzle" is an almost onomatopoeic reference to its title — a rhythmic and melodic jumble that bounces, veers, and never quite gives itself away. With 100 lbs. and the included bonus disc, Herbert claims that he was striving to "do something a bit more homely, with more humility to it." He succeeded, masterfully, and in the process distinguished himself as a unique figure in electronic music, with a clear vision, steady hand, and impossibly light touch.

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