Thursday, October 27, 2011

Matthew Herbert, One Pig

The electronic artist Matthew Herbert's new album is called One Pig, and it samples sounds recorded from the life of one pig from birth through consumption on the dinner plate. He has described the album as a meditation on "the drama and the melancholy of nurturing animals to slaughter them to eat." He adds, in an interview with Quietus (here), "My intention was to understand the consequences of that decision and to witness the whole process, and in doing so I wanted to amplify the quite explicit but often entirely invisible friction that's constantly surrounding us between things we do and the consequences of our actions."

I have only listened to the album once so far, but found it quite interesting and thought that parts of it were quite moving, although it may wind up more significant as a project then as a listening experience one returns to again and again. We'll see, I guess.

If you aren't willing to spring for a copy of the album just yet, you can listen to a stream of the album on The Guardian website here. An early (and positive) review of the album via Pitchfork can be found here.


A Question of Scale

Although we all know that pigs are primarily raised to produce pork, we often forget the scale of this enterprise, especially when we think about the cultural pig, the "pigs of the imagination" as I call it in the book. So, as a reminder, here's the latest update on U.S. pig meat production last month, courtesy of the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service (full report in pdf format here):

U.S. pig meat production totaled 1.95 billion pounds in September 2011, up 4% from September 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hog slaughter totaled 9.69 million head, up 4% from September 2010. The average live weight was unchanged from 2010 numbers, at 270 pounds.