16 Musical Odes To Very Strange Animals

1 of 6

View slideshow i

CD sleeves usually feature pictures of the musicians, the text of lyrics and copious thanks.

Michael Hearst is the musician behind Songs for Unusual Creatures. i i

Michael Hearst is the musician behind Songs for Unusual Creatures. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
Michael Hearst is the musician behind Songs for Unusual Creatures.

Michael Hearst is the musician behind Songs for Unusual Creatures.

Courtesy of the artist

But the sleeve of Michael Hearst's new CD, Songs for Unusual Creatures, shows pictures of a blue-footed booby, an elephant shrew, a blobfish, a humpback anglerfish and more. (Those images are courtesy of illustrator Jelmer Noordeman, and will appear in a book version of the project, out later this year.)

Hearst, a Brooklyn musician and composer best known as a founding member of the band One Ring Zero, says he finds an affinity between these strange beasts and many strange instruments you never hear at the symphony.

"Some of them were almost built for this album," Hearst tells NPR's Scott Simon. "In particular, there's one that I use for the 'Honey Badger' song, which is the daxophone. 'Dax' [comes from] the German word 'dachs' — just like 'dachshund' — which means badger. The dachshund was a badger hunter. So that song needed to have the daxophone, which is this animal-like-sounding instrument."

You can learn more about the unusual creatures at Michael Hearst's website, and watch him perform "Chinese Giant Salamander" on this page.

Purchase Featured Music

Songs For Unusual Creatures

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Songs For Unusual Creatures
Artist
Michael Hearst
Released
2012

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.