Surimi. Gourmet crisps. Energy drinks. Pickles. Wet wipes. Coca Cola six-pack. Shit, don't forget the milk, or the girlfriend will be cross. Oh, hey, hello friends, you just got me making my shopping list, I'm about to leave for the supermarket. The supermarket, yes, that calorie theme park, that Fantasy Island of Tetra-Paks. The temple for the artful consumer and the industrial pastry addict. The prie-dieu for elderly ladies in search of the latest discounts, greedy housewives and singles looking for frozen pizzas. How many times did I deliberately get lost in the tinned food section, gently stroking the cans of tuna and clams? The pleasure of jumping into the piled-up bags of crisps: the soft embrace of a bag of Lay's; the happy colours of a bag of Cheetos cheese puffs; the intoxicating crunches of the Evans pork rinds under my body.
I'm fully aware that such devotion for this kind of establishments is the result of unfathomable deviation; nobody thinks it's cute when I tell them about my almost erotic attraction to big supermarkets and Herbert least of all. It seems that the Briton is not a big fan of getting a shopping cart and strolling along the aisles of pots and nappies. I'd love to think good Matthew likes the supermarket as much as I do, but I seriously doubt our man shivers with excitement at the sight of plastic fruit, cancerous factory bread and chicken breasts that give you man boobs, what with his political background.
Herbert must hate what he sees in those extermination camps so much, that he took out his oldest alias, Wishmountain (it's been 14 years since his last release), dusted off his machines, and took a nosedive into the depths of Tesco in order to fill his hard drive with the sounds of the chain store's best-selling products. Those are the bricks he built this album with: a pot of Nescafe, a couple of cans, a bag of crisps and so on. After the majestic “One Pig” - from the acclaimed “One” series, based on the sounds of a pig - here's another challenge, though this time the result is much more musical and dance floor friendly.
“Tesco” is a high-octane record when it comes to the compositions. Herbert's ability to create worlds from apparently sterile, microscopic sounds is astonishing. To make proper songs, to make music out of farts, blows, mechanical noises, screeches, bubbles and other objects, is quite an accomplishment. He puts together the pieces to manufacture crunchy, bizarre and sometimes even danceable electronica. Thus, on “Nescafe” he shapes an obsessive and unnerving piece of guttural micro-house. “Lucozade” is a tribal suite with shamanic reverberations. “Walkers” is possibly the darkest and most floor filling of them all: it sounds like minimal techno dub recorded in a Nazi bunker. “Andrex” is another highlight: interferences, drones, industrial blows, skilfully put together. And on “Kingsmill Hovis And Warburton” he comes with an industrial cumbia that sounds like Autechre working together with Otto Von Schirach. Once again, freakishness takes shape in the hands of this sampling wizard, making magic out of coffee, two cans of Coca Cola and a shopping cart.