Author: Kyle Johnson

A young man stands in front of a water landscape at sunset pointing a large microphone with a fluffy grey "dead cat" windscreen off to the right to record environmental sounds.

The Marketplace of Environmental Sounds

How is the musical history of animal imitation caught up in racism, sexism, and imperialist nostalgia? From classical music to whistling, this conversation explores the art and ethics of imitating, recording, and selling the sounds of the nonhuman world.

A parakeet named Punky perched on piano keys. A modified version of a photo by Amyra Moon, March 2011.

Can a Piano Sing a Birdsong?

The French composer Olivier Messaien attempted to reproduce the calls of 80 European birds in a three-hour piece for solo piano. Did he succeed?