Matthew Herbertâ€™s One Pig show will be performed live on Friday 18th May at RNCM as part of the 2012 FutureEverything festival. The avant-garde musician has created an electronica album that captures the sounds of an anonymous pigâ€™s life on a Kent farm, through to its death at an abattoir, and the consumption of the meat at a banquet hosted in its honour.
This controversial work utilised the pigâ€™s meat, which was turned into musical instruments (and was prepared by Heston Blumenthal) â€“ bunting and tablecloths were made from the blood, the fat became candles, trotters a candelabra, and the pigâ€™s farmyard oinks were recorded and sampled as part of the score.
One Pig debuted at the Royal Opera House in October on a stage filled with hay bales and musicians in white butchersâ€™ coats. A new instrument, designed by Yann Seznec, called a â€˜styharpâ€™ was commissioned as part of the project, and will be played live alongside a chef that cooks bacon, onstage, as part of the performance in Manchester.
Matthew Herbert released his anticipated album in 2011. The album, made entirely from recordings of a modern pigâ€™s life cycle aimed to listen in on a single farm animalâ€™s life in the context of an otherwise-anonymous food chain. The project generated controversy as PETA condemned One Pig as making â€œentertainmentâ€ from animal cruelty, apparently without first checking key details about Herbertâ€™s intention and methods, and a facebook campaign attempted to prevent the release of the record.
Matthew Herbert is both overall head and A&R man for Accidental Records, which he founded in 2000 and has also acted as a producer for the label. An increasingly in-demand collaborator and of other artists, Herbert has remixed Quincy Jones, Ennio Morricone, Serge Gainsbourg, John Cale and R.E.M.
Herbert has worked in other media, including scoring ballet, fashion shows, and theatre â€“ his music has been presented at the Royal Court, on Broadway and the Almeida. His collaborators have ranged from Bjork to Antony Hegarty, from the playwright Caryl Churchill to purveyor of radical cuisine Heston Blumenthal. He has scored many feature films, notably 2011â€²s Life in a Day directed by Kevin Macdonald, writing for full, 90 piece orchestras in some instances. Whether performing or Djing, he has played all over the world to sell-out crowds, including venues such as the Sydney Opera House and Hollywood Bowl.
â€œCacophonous explosions, raw sheets of electronic noise and a menacing barrage of percussion gelled into a plausible soundtrack for porcine doomsdayâ€¦ a rare performance that impales you on the prongs of a moral pitchfork.â€ â€“ The Telegraph
â€œItâ€™s a fascinating journey forcing us to regard the politics of our food. Could or would anyone else produce this work? No chance, and thatâ€™s the beauty of a Herbert recording. Gloriously unique and unsettling provocative. 10/10.â€ â€“ Clash Magazine