Matthew Herbert has been one of the most consistently challenging artists in dance music. He approaches it with experimental and conceptual underpinnings that mean his music is often closer to the modern art world than to the after-hours club. It had started to seem, though, that his political and formal ideas were overpowering the musical and harmonic ones. It was that contrast between high art ideas applied across a peculiarly intimate and richly melodic framework that made his 1998 full-length, Around The House, such a timeless work, but last year's Plat Du Jour had very few hummable moments and suffered for it. Leave it to Herbert to throw us another curve ball and release his most musical and accessible work to date -- and his strongest. He still uses lots of unorthodox objects as instruments (723 according to the liner notes), but there are horns, strings, guitars and tons of vocals, too. Think of it as avant-garde composer John Cage trying his hand at disco and getting it right.
Herbert hits Harbourfront's Indie Unlimited festival August 25.