Friday, 2 September 2011

Fri 2nd Sept: Matthew Herbert's ONE PIG (unpublished piece from Aug 2011)

In the midst of my hiatus from blogging, here is a previously unpublished article from last summer which ties into "One Pig" being brought to The Royal Opera House one year on:

I have been hearing tails (forgive the pun) about this forthcoming album for some time and been fascinated about the whole concept - so to attend the final chapter was fascinating. In a nut shell, Matthew Herbert has sonically documented the life cycle of "One Pig" in order to compose an album from all the sounds. He was present for the birth and visited the creature every 2 weeks of its 1 year existence, taping its trotting antics. To conclude the journey, Matthew attended the butchery of the carcase and curated an assembly of chefs to cook the meat to honour its sacrifice. The process of preparing the dishes was recorded and guests were invited to dine on these platters. Each attendee took turn to take their plate into a sound booth and lay down some chomping noises to contribute to the acapella for the soundtrack!
Matthew composes music as a commentary on society as its inherent role is implicitly inseparable from culture and humanity.......... he questions why more artists don't also incorporate current affairs as the crux of the concept for their albums. In this instance Matthew is addressing the increasing separation of consumer's consideration of where food is sourced and farmed. He is highlighting modern eating consumption since meat has become so cheap and disposable. ie. how many chicken shops do you see daily in London and how many chickens do you actually see?! Matthew decided to track the life of a pig for a soundtrack to encapsulate this particular preoccupation of his.

One little piggy went to market.
One little piggy stayed at home.
One little piggy had roast beef,
One little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way onto Matthew Herbert's "One Pig" album!

In addition to the menu of meals to use the meat, the entirety of the animals anatomy was transformed into products for the "One Pig" project. Its blood was used to die the table cloths, fat to make candles and even its trotters to make the candelabra. To add to the musical element, its skin was stretched for a drum and remaining blood bottled up in glass cylinders in an invented instrument which was an organ that made squealing noises. Pickles were prepared a year in advance to accompany the ham and pork pie......... no detail was left unconsidered - this animal's sacrifice was to be put to the best use!
What better way to do this then have the following feast:

The whole sonic supper was washed down with English Ale and serenaded off with a rendition of Old Langswine (excuse another pun!) with Dave Invisible on guitar and Finn Peters on saxophone.
Tune in to hear updates on the final release of this epic immortialised piggy soundpiece...........

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