In the past, we’ve explored the kind of music that cats and dogs might enjoy listening to, but there haven’t been many opportunities to discuss what sort of tunes our furry pals like to create for themselves. As it turns out, cat music is as wide-ranging as our own, ranging from the naked commercialism of horribly meowed holiday jingles through to the sonic experiments of a four-legged Alvin Lucier devotee snoring into a microphone to craft unearthly sounds.
A clip tweeted by @Mr_Meowwgi demonstrates the boundary-pushing art of one cat in specific. Helped along by a human assistant with an Echo microphone, the musician allows itself to fall into a deep sleep so its snores can be amplified and distorted into strange new forms.
The rhythms are unpredictable, the timbre shifting wildly from moment to moment. The exhalations begin high-pitched and brief, like a balloon’s air being let out, before deepening into lower breaths and short querying notes. Another cat meows in the background as counterpoint, attempting a deconstructed chord of alien provenance. The performance ends with the lead cat snorting out a sound that reverberates violently through the mic before licking its chops a little as a final statement.
It would belittle the work to try to explain its meaning in simple words. Instead, we should simply appreciate the cat recording on a more instinctive, emotional level. These animals are true artists, creating at the limits of the human understanding of music. What they’d create if they had access to, say, a synthesizer with bits of catnip scattered beneath the keys and dials, is something we can only hope will be answered for us in the future.
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