- Timeless house music, reissued.
- If you were in a record shop back in 1998 and picked up a copy of Herbert And Dani Siciliano's So Now… EP, perhaps lured in by Herbert's recent run of lush deep house, it'd be easy to feel pretty smug. Some records simply give you bang for your buck, and with four extraordinary tracks packed onto the 12-inch, this was one of them. (It even may not have seemed outrageous that, some years later, a copy might go for €70 on a new-fangled internet marketplace called Discogs.) Fast-forward 21 years, and Matthew Herbert's Accidental Jnr is reissuing the record with a small twist: "I Hadn't Known (I Only Heard)," a Herbert favourite, has been promoted from the B2 to the A1 and it takes the title of the release.
This makes total sense. The track exemplifies everything great about Herbert's house music at the time. He'd recently begun working with the vocalist Dani Siciliano, releasing an album together that year called Around The House, and her voice is the track's most memorable feature (although that bassline comes a close second). The looped vocal refrain—"Be-fore"—is the kind of thing that gets lodged in the mind for months, although it probably helps that it's backed by deliciously smoky chords and drums. The also exquisite "So Now" appeared on Around The House, an album on which Herbert began flexing his conceptual muscles by recording sounds from around his home. Sure, there's a feeling of non-standard sound sources here, plinks and plonks etc, but this doesn't detract from the deep, sultry groove.
"We All Need Love" and "Got To Sing" are more minimally minded. There seems to be some garage in the DNA of "We All Need Love," which bumps at a chilled 120 BPM with intermittent vocal samples and humid chord stabs creating an enveloping atmosphere. "Got To Sing" is also 120 BPM but it's quite a bit meaner. The kick and bass are a rugged foundation for the organ part, which falls away as snares start hitting on the 1/4 note and the track's intensity is ramped skywards. Even leaving aside the exceptional quality levels here, I Hadn't Known (I Only Heard) is a super useful EP for DJs: four signature Herbert classics for different parts of your evening.
A1 I Hadn't Known (I Only Heard)
A2 We All Need Love
B1 So Now
B2 Got To Sing