The vet wouldn't allow it...
Scott Colothan

11:04 11th February 2010

Experimental musician Matthew Herbert has been refused permission to record the sounds of a pig being slaughtered for his upcoming album 'One Pig'.

The 39-year-old was due to record the pig's death on Monday (February 8th) but wrote on his blog that the vet at the abattoir wouldn't allow it.

He said: “Rather frustratingly, and despite many phone calls we have found it impossible to find an abattoir to allow us to record the death of the pig. we found one farmer willing to let us record, but then the attending vet did not allow it.”

The album 'One Pig' will be made up entirely of sounds made during the life cycle of a pig.

The pig's meat will be sent to top chefs, including Heston Blumenthal, for a banquet, while Herbert will make a drum from the skin, a flute out of its bones, a toothbrush from the bristles and ink from its blood.

Herbert added on his blog: “For me the death was always a crucial part of the project. it was the part i was looking forward to the least, but the part i felt was most pertinent in my understanding of this life. i'll be writing more about this process at a later date.”

Despite not recording the sound, the pig has been slaughtered and the other stages of the project will go ahead.

The weirdest musical instruments ever:

  • The self dubbed 'Master Of Lightning' Dr Zeus - real name Terry Blake. The daredevil wears a protective suit (complete with Wellington boots) to conduct electricity via light sabres and 12 kilowatt musical tesla coils. As well as creating 'music', it makes for a damn fine visual display, as these photos from a showing in Michigan prove.

  • This astonishing, ridiculous 12 neck, 72 sting guitar was designed by Japanese artist Yoshihiko Satoh for a 2007 exhibition in Tokyo called Present Arms and Glory Arms. A fully functioning instrument, apparently.

  • The centre-piece of the exhibition was this mind-boggling star guitar, again designed by Yoshihiko Satoh, which also has twelve necks. How the hell anyone could physically play this is beyond us.

  • An instrument and piece of architecture, the sea organ in Zadar, Croatia creates sounds when sea waves undulate against tubes located underneath the marble steps. Designed by designer Nikola BaÅ¡ić, unsurprisingly it has become a firm tourist attraction since it opened in 2005.

  • Dubbed Little Lady, this is the world's smallest harmonica and measures just 1.5cm across. The fully working instrument (we assume for those with tiny mouths) was made in nineteenth century Germany and has been preserved to this day.

  • This 2 metres tall Contrabass Sax is claimed to be the largest woodwind instrument on our humble planet. Custom made for musician Jay C Easton (above), the monster was sold for a whopping $22,500 three years ago.

  • The hydraulophone (as the name suggests) works when pressure is applied to hydraulic fluid. As the above demonstration at the Ontario Science Centre shows, they make a pretty sweet sound. Other hydraulophones have been made from sewer pipes, plumbing fittings and more.

  • Not just an ordinary guitar, this behemoth, dubbed The Villainizer, uses pipes, gauges and gears to create a unique sound. The 'steampunk' instrument was made by specialist guitar designers Thunder Eagle in 2007 and is a modified Rhodes Jackson V.

  • Designed by John Morris and his team at the Peterson Electro-Musical factory, this pipe organ uses Guinness bottles to create the notes. Genius.

  • Of all of Dutch experimental luthier Yuri Landman's bizarre creations, this is our personal favourite. Dubbed the 'Moodswinger' it was created for Aaron Hemphill of Liars fame and despite its appearance isn't actually a guitar. Instead it's based on a 'zither' - a kind of string instrument that originates from eastern Europe.

  • The Tenori-on was designed by Japanese artist Toshio Iwai and was unveiled in 2005. It consists of a screen of a sixteen by sixteen display of LED witches, any of which can be activated in a number of ways to create musical sounds. As the demonstration above shows, the results are jaw-dropping.

  • This one-of-a-kind piano is made almost entirely of blue and white porcelain and looks exactly like a gaudy tea set. Unveiled at the China Northeast Asia Import Fair in Shenyang last year, the hand-sculpted, fully working instrument would set you back a whopping £45,000.

  • Andy Manson, who has designed guitars for such musical greats as Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull, created this impressive mermaid guitar in 2006. It was auctioned off to raise money for Zambian farmers charity Harvest Help.

  • Totally ridiculous, this paper drum set was made by Canadian artist Steven Brekelman for a 2006 exhibition. Unsurprisingly they are completely unusable.

  • Popularised by Jean Michel Jarre, the laser harp consists of a number of beams of light which can be manipulated, plucked and blocked to create sounds. Watch the Frenchman perform an excerpt from 'Second Rendez-Vous' above.

  • Not technically a musical instrument, this is actually a custom built PC house within a bass drum. Exactly what the point of this is we don't know, but it would sure be fun to kick if your computer ever crashed.

  • It doesn't look much, but this scientist in Australia is wearing a top fitted with highly receptive electronic sensors which pick up movements and then interpret them into guitar riffs. The air guitar is born.

  • The Theremin may be 90 years old, but it's still going strong and as curious as ever today. Designed by Russian scientist Professor Leon Theremin, the controlling is based on moving your hands within the fields of two metal antennae to get a unique electronic sound. Jean Michel Jarre (above) is one of the stalwarts of the instrument, while Led Zeppelin, Portishead and The Flaming Lips are amongst the countless acts who have used it in the past.

  • As demonstrated in Berlin last year, the staggering 'Reactable' is a digital musical instrument that works when users move items around an electronic tabletop. Truly staggering.

  • This little beauty, called the Raagini Digital, is a type of electronic tanpura which replicates the sounds of the Indian string instrument, the tanpura. Since first appearing in the 1970s, they have fittingly earned the nickname 'little white boxes'.

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