The Critter Issue

The Critter Mixtape

Sounds of the wild


This is a mix about critters, but it’s also very much about our relationships to critters. It includes humans imitating critters, critters imitating humans, critters imitating critters, humans playing music about critters, instruments that sound like critters, critters imitating human songs from the perspective of critters, critters singing critter songs, and critters being critters.

There aren’t very many words in this mix, but it includes a lot of field recordings, some of which are found, some of which are mine, and some of which are more canonical, ground-breaking field recordings, like Felix Hess’s 1985 Frogs 4, and the humpback whale recordings made by Dr. Roger Payne in 1970. This was the first recorded demonstration of the elaborate songs sung and repeated by humpback whales in human history, the shortest of which are in the six-minute range, with the longest clocking in at over 30 minutes. The songs are repeated continuously for up to 24 hours during mating season. Though the songs change from year to year, all whales in a given ocean will sing the same songs.

Lastly, I’d like to note that some of the field recordings are particularly delicate and textural, especially those of insects, and as such, they might get lost on laptop speakers. I’d recommend headphones listening if possible.

Jen Monroe,


Dobie Grey the Parrot singing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme Song
Philippine Madrigal Singers - Pamugun (comp. Francisco Feliciano)
Capercaillie Bird, Scotland
Jun Miyake - Pico Birds
Felix Hess - Palenque (Recorded on 3/23/83 around 11 pm, at Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 1 km from the Maya site)
Iury Lech - Barreras
Swarm of locusts hatching, eating grass, flying
Haruomi Hosono - Wakamurasaki
GoPro falls into a pit of rattlesnakes
Guem - Le Serpent
O.A.S.I. - Il Gioco dei Sogni
Chickens, exterior, cockerel & hens scratching in grass for corn
Masami Tsuchiya - Nightgulls
Bat echolocation
Pauline Oliveros & Andrew Deutsch - Summer Bugs
Snoring hummingbird
Susumu Yokota - King Dragonfly
Humpback Whales - Three Whale Trip, recorded by Dr. Roger S. Payne
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Whales (NTT Data 1990)
Sounds of a healthy coral reef (mostly tiny snapping shrimp)
Yoshio Ojima - Graduation
Loons - Tremelos While Running, recorded by William E. Barklow