Having spent almost 30 years toying with the idea of house music — why it’s made, how it’s made and what it can sound like (particularly if you use household appliances and human hair as your instruments) — legendary electronic conceptualist Matthew Herbert finally returns to his ‘domestic house music’ series for the first time since 2001’s Bodily Functions. Musca magnifies the alternative jazz and R&B strains of Herbert’s catalogue, and yet also quietly meditates on the ethos of dance music, plotting the personal and the intimate against the political and the universal.
As such, Musca sees Herbert recruiting a truly stacked list of collaborators to experiment alongside him. Y’akoto gently skirts the piano scale with soul and grace, her vocal periodically echoing in heavily manipulated squeaks as shrill electric guitar riffs in the background, setting the scene for the low-key, almost trip-hop-inspired performances of Verushka Grebenar-George, Siân Roseanna and Allie Armstrong. Some of Herbert’s ‘collaborators’ are different species altogether, as he transforms the gekkering of fox cubs and the snoring of a pig on his farm into otherworldly textures, some danceable and some pure mood.
Released shortly after expanded reissues of 1998’s Around the House and 2001’s Bodily Functions, Musca is a cerebral resolution of Herbert's never-ending search for humanity in technological landscapes; for community in times of alienation.