The two-year collaborative experiment will run in parallel with the UK’s Brexit negotiations.
Matthew Herbert’s previous musical experiments have involved everything from a pig’s life cycle to Nazi bullets, but his latest wheeze comes off as less wacky for the sake of it.
The Brexit Sound Swap is a project designed to assert the value of collaboration, launched on a day when the UK seems to have given in to delusional nostalgia and insularity. As Herbert puts it: “In an increasingly fractured and divided political climate where tolerance and creativity are under threat, it feels like an important time to assert the desire for our bit of the musical community in Britain to reach out in solidarity with some of our closest, but soon to be less accessible, friends and neighbours.”
On the Brexit Sound Swap website, users can upload three-second recordings of their sounds, and in return receive all other sounds to do what they will with (aside from commercial advertising). Herbert’s intention is to build up a library of commonly held resources that also functions as a “sonic petition”.
Meanwhile, Herbert will take a similar approach to making his third big band album over the two-year process of Brexit negotiations following Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50. Concerts, recording sessions and workshops will take place, while the album will layer contributions from musicians, singers, choirs, soloists and big bands from across Europe.