The last volume in Matthew Herbert’s “One” trilogy contains the same sonic ruminations on consumerism and mechanization as the previous installments, as well as their mood and tenor.
Like One One, a heady singer-songwriter record, there’s a hushed creeping intimacy to the thing, and a Zen-like acceptance of overbearing forces, even if it intends to keep on kicking against them.
Like One Club, which twisted field recordings from the Frankfurt nightclub Robert Johnson into splayed-apart dance music, One Pig is an overwhelming, inscrutably political electronic record culled from an unlikely source.
Matthew Herbert | September
In this case, it consists of manipulated recordings Herbert made of a pig’s life, “from birth to plate.” This certainly isn’t the exploitation record PETA assumed it was gonna be, and it’s not a slab of musical vegan didacticism that presumably, many more, who prefer their music to be good first, and message-oriented second, feared either.
No matter how visceral Herbert’s mix of animal grunts and menacing electronics feel, the message is never something simple like, “it sure is sad that we kill animals.” Rather, it moves listeners to be more mindful of consumption and waste, while acknowledging just how strangely disconnected we are from the animals killed to put food on our table.
Herbert notes in the making-of video that, for legal reasons, he could not record the actual death of the pig. And that says a great deal more about government-sanctioned ignorance and the bizarre regulations on food manufacturing than One Pig really ever could.
What Herbert has put together is a witty, difficult, touching testament to making something lasting out of one of the world’s many cruel inevitabilities.
Matthew Herbert presents “One Pig” LIVE
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 | 20:00 CET
HAU 1 | Stresemannstr. 29 | 10963 Berlin/Kreuzberg