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Record Review - 3 February 24 2001

Nobody ever started a party by shouting, "Let's get minimal!" But that's just what cerebral London DJ/producer Matthew Herbert does — and it works. A former jazz keyboardist who studied electro-acoustic theory at university, Herbert approaches both record-making and record-spinning like a grad student at Pleasure Principle U. Where 1998's gorgeous Around the House and his sumptuous remix the following year of Moloko's "Sing It Back" lolled around like mercury on a waterbed, the approach of Let's All Make Mistakes is more angular. Here he explores how much texture you can wring out of, rather than apply to, a simple groove. Picking the simplest tracks by a surprising array of artists — from pothead savants Nightmares on Wax to electro revivalist Si Begg to minimalist godhead Plastikman — Herbert shapes a mix that bumps along passionately. Just check the interaction between the strutting disco bassline and menacing rattlesnake-shaker of Auto Repeat's "Def Jam," the air-compression Morse code of Traktor's "Master Traktor" and the funky riff of Begg's "Test Tube Baby," which breaks through Traktor's aural dust-clouds just as you think you're going to start choking. At the end is Hombre Ojo's "La Musica," an astringently flute-kissed comedown that, after all that quick cutting, is like watching the sun rise over the ocean.