2001, Music

Bodily Functions (2001) by Herbert

The 21st century really is the post genre century. The more and more I listen to music from this century, the more I find it hard to categorize, often individual songs but far more often with entire albums, that throw together things which do not make sense. Case in point, this record, which manages to be both a house record and, um, something approaching a cool jazz record, at times. It’s a bit of a mindfuck.

When I was younger, I wanted lots of diversity on records. But I could sometimes get annoyed with certain diverse records because I thought they didn’t make sense. Mostly this revolved personnel – it was long a nitpick of mine when bands would record music without some members being present, especially if they did this repeatedly. (Despite the Beatles doing this all the time, which was somehow forgivable.) As I get older, the less I care about how a record is diverse and the more I care about whether that diversity is effective. (At least I hope that’s how it is.)

This record combines music that feels very much like lounge/slower club music (so, um, slower House I guess) with music that, at the very least, sounds like jazz. Maybe the better way to put it is that it wears the trappings of jazz, whether or not it actually qualifies as jazz. (And, honestly, that depends upon the track. But it sometimes gets very, very close to what I would call “jazz.”) On it’s face, the combination doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

But, for some reason (I like jazz!) I find it really appealing. I don’t particularly like House music but this is mellower than the House I’m familiar with. Then, when it dives into the pseudo jazz – where Herbert plays piano – I enjoy it like I would modern cool jazz (which is to say more than older cool jazz).

There are few to no tracks on which the two styles blend effectively (and I’m not even sure if they ever do). So he’s relying on mood carrying things from track to track. And that is basically my only criticism: it does feel more like a bunch of things put together because of similar mood rather than an “album” of music. But this is probably a little nitpicky and a legacy of my caring too much how the sausage is made.

I was quite happy to listen to it. I’m not sure there’s enough “jazz” here for me to seek out more of Herbert’s music, and there really is too much House for me, but I did find it a very pleasant listen.


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