The Herbaliser

So, this blog is already one week old! Thanks to everyone that has read the entries, and even greater thanks to those people that have left me comments, you guys really are fuelling this thing.

Today I decided I'd feature the group that have remained at the top of my last.fm charts for a long time now; The Herbaliser. Since 8th February 2005 I've, apparently, listened to The Herbaliser 654 times – so they must be pretty good, right? Right!

Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry formed The Herbaliser back in the early '90s in good old London town. They are one of Ninja Tune's more famous/popular artists and to date they have released five full albums;

  • Remedies (1995)
  • Blow Your Headphones (1997)
  • Very Mercenary (1999)
  • Something Wicked this Way Comes (2002)
  • Take London (2005)

Essentially The Herbaliser are a jazz/hip-hop group. Their earlier releases were more of a beat driven hip-hop experience, but over time their sound has matured, the jazz element began to take more of a shape and then in the later years they experimented using an actual jazz band to play instruments on their tracks. Another, more constant, feature in their music has always been the appearance of guest emcees. Many have returned to work with them time and again, whilst others were one off, such guest appearances have been from; Jean Grae (credited in earlier work under the name What What), Roots Manuva, Raaka Iriescience (from Dilated Peoples), Blade, Phi Life Cypher, and MF DOOM.

But… so as to not make this entry read like a page from an encyclopedia, let's get down and dirty and delve into the wonders that are… my opinions!

The first record I actually heard from The Herbaliser was Something Wicked this Way Comes, when it was released in 2002. I didn't really know much about them, but my cousin assured me it was a good UK hip-hop record, so… I bought it. The album took some getting used to (I was young and uncultured!), but the title track instantly grabbed me – the eerie samples and hypnotic beats putting me in some sort of trance, but a good trance. If you haven't heard that track, then give it a 'sample' here…

The Herbaliser – Something Wicked (feat. Seeming To)
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 31st May.

After that I pretty much made it my mission to check out all of their stuff. Each album has it's own charm, plus what I love about these guys is that they manage to keep the crux of their music whilst nothing sounds repetitive. You know what I mean, some artists (although great) manage to release 5 albums that sound pretty much exactly the same – not The Herbaliser. I really love particular tracks off each album, few to pick would be; Wrong Place, Ginger Jumps The Fence, Mission Improbable, Let It Go, Something Wicked, and Lord Lord.

The Herbaliser have also been successful with mix-tapes, releasing Solid Steel Presents Herbal Blend (2003) for Ninja tune, and also Fabric Live 26 (2006) for the continuing Fabric Live series.

To compare The Herbaliser to other similar acts, I guess names like these would perhaps come to mind; Nightmares On Wax, Coldcut, DJ Vadim, DJ Krush, Bonobo. Basically if you are into your jazzy hip-hop and you haven't heard anything by The Herbaliser, then get some quick before the music police bust yo' ass! Feel free to comment on The Herbaliser or detail your favourite tracks in this post.

Useful links:

  • Kez

    I first bought Something Wicked this Way Comes, on your bro’s suggestion, and it blew my mind. It’s an awesome album and the songs with Phi Life Cypher, Blade, Wild Flower and Iriscience are especially wicked.

    I didn’t get into their other stuff till you introduced me to it and it’s pretty cool, I need to listen to it more to appreciate it fully. I had to listen to Something Wicked a couple of times till I fell in love with it.

  • Kez

    I first bought Something Wicked this Way Comes, on your bro’s suggestion, and it blew my mind. It’s an awesome album and the songs with Phi Life Cypher, Blade, Wild Flower and Iriscience are especially wicked.

    I didn’t get into their other stuff till you introduced me to it and it’s pretty cool, I need to listen to it more to appreciate it fully. I had to listen to Something Wicked a couple of times till I fell in love with it.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yeah, it’s definitely stuff you get into fully over a period of time.

    The albums definitely deserve to be listened to, start to finish, in one sitting – a few times.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yeah, it’s definitely stuff you get into fully over a period of time.

    The albums definitely deserve to be listened to, start to finish, in one sitting – a few times.

  • http://www.rustysheriff.com/ Rusty Sheriff

    Not fully listened to Something Wicked this Way Comes, but its on my shopping list. Take London is good though, various tracks/styles throughout. Ninja just seem to know what sounds good!!!

  • http://www.rustysheriff.com Rusty Sheriff

    Not fully listened to Something Wicked this Way Comes, but its on my shopping list. Take London is good though, various tracks/styles throughout. Ninja just seem to know what sounds good!!!

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yup, them Ninja Tune boys know what’s good. They wont let you release any old bucket of shite on their label!

    You should def get SWTWC, although I think Very Mercenary is marginally the best Herbaliser album.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yup, them Ninja Tune boys know what’s good. They wont let you release any old bucket of shite on their label!

    You should def get SWTWC, although I think Very Mercenary is marginally the best Herbaliser album.

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