Doctor Rockit.

The first Doctor Rockit releases were found on Clear, an influential label from the mid-nineties that was part of the movement away from club music towards more electro and jazz-influenced music. What started out as an Electro-based project soon became something else entirely as Herbert attempted to take the concrete ideas of the Wishmountain project and add musical elements to create more laid-back but heavily swinging tracks. The project developed considerably after live shows in Germany on a combined tour with Patrick Pulsinger’s Cheap Records in 1996. Clear released ‘The Music of Sound’ album in 1997, by which time the music had become an explicit diary of Herbert’s life. Recordings were, amongst other things, taken from places relating to Herbert’s childhood (‘The Walk’, ‘Runner on Hastings beach’) and restaurants and hotels visited in Austria with Patrick Pulsinger (‘Motel Rhythm’ and ‘Café Beograd’).

Doctor Rockit took an extended leave of absence in 1998 as Herbert concentrated on his project with Dani Siciliano but he returned in 2000, releasing ‘Indoor Fireworks’ on his new self-owned label, Lifelike. The record continued the diary theme and contained recordings of Herbert and friends in Barcelona for New Year (‘Welcome’), his father’s old car, Sydney’s traffic lights (‘Metro’) and twenty of Herbert’s friends after a warm up session in the pub (‘Hymnformation’). The latter was Herbert’s first explicitly political piece of music with lyrics informed by Noam Chomsky and John Pilger and referring to Rupert Murdoch and his expanding “news” industry and to Saddam Hussein and the bombing of Iraq, the central premise of the song being ‘We require more information’.

CoffinDoctor Rockit’s first known appearance came as a race horse on TV in 1995 and he finally disappeared in 2004 with the release of the compilation, ‘The Unnecessary History of Doctor Rockit’, a CD which for the first time collected music from the early EPs on Clear to the final single on Lifelike. The decision to dispose of the Doctor came with Herbert’s realisation that the borderlines between his recording names were beginning to overlap and re-integrate themselves. There may indeed come a point in the not too distant future when all of Herbert’s music is recorded under his own name.