In 1889, an eight-year-old Ludwig Koch became the first to record a bird vocalizing. Bird songs have long influenced human music–composers have been quoting bird songs for centuries, and actual recordings of birds have made for popular samples since doing so became possible in the ’60s.
And last week — some 123 years after Koch first captured the sounds of a bird — Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden unveiled “Bird Songs,” a lengthy, chirpy number released under the moniker Percussion. The title “Bird Songs” is a tad misleading though. In addition to a fragmented drum pattern that starts off sounding like someone toying with your stereo’s AUX cable and a touch of synths, there are all kinds of bird sounds here. A couple of powerful wing flaps are looped throughout, and an array of songs sound off (seemingly) at random in the ambient distance, giving the impression that perhaps your window has been left open.
Interestingly, there are parts of “Bird Songs” in which it becomes tricky to pick apart what is birdmade and what is manmade. This, and the unrelenting pulse of bass throughout its seven-and-a-half minutes, can make one feel quite claustrophobic, paranoid (especially if you distrust birds as much as this reviewer). Excellent for Four Tet fans, likely terrifying otherwise.
“Bird Songs” is one half of the Bird Songs/Rabbit Songs 12″ that’s due in stores “very soon,” according to Percussion’s SoundCloud. Though, since it doesn’t appear as though rabbits are capable of song outside of particularly stupid YouTube videos, it’s safe to assume b-side “Rabbit Songs” will work off a slightly different concept.