A true pillar of electronic experimentation, iconoclastic producer Matthew Herbert, has long operated at the forefront of the British leftfield. A master at recontextualizing and reinventing entire sonic worlds, this self-taught contemporary musician is simply the ultimate word in hybrid forms. Since the mid-nineties, Herbert’s highly conceptual yet ever-accessible practice has excelled at shimmering house, experimental techno, musique concrète, sampler-sweeping big band (as The Matthew Herbert Big Band) and dance music that doubles as persuasive political manifestos. Having inspired the name of a major homegrown film (Café de Flore), this incomparable soundshaper more than makes up for an eight-year absence with three highly potent performances at MUTEK 2013, including, The End Of Silence. The project is inspired by the sound of a bomb’s immediate impact, as captured by photojournalist Sebastian Meyer in war-torn Libya. In this improvised performance, featuring Herbert and three other musicians, the conscientious showman confronts us with sobering global truths by delving deep into the terrifying ten-second recording, playing on its infinite variations and echoes.
In music, the lyrics to a given track will generally convey any objection or issue that an artist wishes to raise. With One Pig, Matthew Herbert flips that conventional wisdom on its head. Here, it’s the music, the melody and the sounds themselves, that assert their points. As its name would suggest, the One Pig recording delves into the life of a pig from birth, to slaughter, to plate. Entirely produced through recordings carried out by Herbert himself, we’re subjected to grunts, the clatter of cutlery and even a wind instrument that runs on pig’s blood. Needless to say, the sum of those sounds makes for an unsettling listening experience – which is the project’s ultimate aim. By removing the music’s potential for playfulness, Herbert also challenges us to rethink our consumer habits. Presented for the first time on North American soil, Matthew Herbert’s partisan performance promises an unforgettable experience to whoever can stomach the hard truths (both raw and cooked) he asks us to swallow.