Matthew Herbert - One Pig

Gloriously unique and unsettling provocative
Matthew Herbert - One Pig
The third part of a wonky triptych sees the most principled man in techno make an album from a commercially farmed pig. Yes, you heard right! Utilising key sounds from the beast’s life and resulting body parts, Herbert’s sound field is a pastoral jaunt peppered with muttering farmers, neighbourly cows and grunts of feeding delight.

It’s also dark as fuck, as screams from injured sibling piglets destined to die mingle with bass thrums of the Land Rover off to abattoir, the flat slap of air being beaten from dismembered lungs and various sharp metallic sounds borne from mankind’s cold butchery. ‘August 2010’ hears a bespoke blood instrument force air through tuned reeds, generating an unsettlingly human sound, one not unlike the vision of an agonised and mutated man bred for industrial purposes. Or perhaps just the sound of a ghostly swine revisiting its owner.

At points ‘One Pig’ is startling, at others it’s the simple sound of a pig in shit. People will inevitably criticise its abstract format: it starts and revisits unadulterated sounds of the sty, yet there are some truly musical moments. The rising notes of ‘October’ swell with life, ‘December’ has an industrial groove that could perfectly score the silent film ‘Metropolis’, whilst the death month of ‘August 2010’ is haunted with irrefutable melancholic swoon.

It’s a fascinating journey forcing us to regard the politics of our food. Could or would anyone else produce this work? No chance, and that’s the beauty of a Herbert recording. Gloriously unique and unsettling provocative.

10/10

Words by MATTHEW BENNETT

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