‘I discovered that when I slowed down this recording to various levels, this simple familiar sound began to morph into something very mystic and complex……..almost human,’ Jim Wilson.
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There are two versions of the track: an original version with the crickets chirping at normal speed and a slowed down version that is said to match the average lifespan length of a human being. The sounds are explained in the liner notes of one version of the track:
“Though it may sound like a synthesizer or a chorus singing; it’s the crickets themselves slowed way down, creating the effect of a choir of human voices. The sound created is a simple diatonic 7-note scale chord progression and melody with a multi-layered structure.”
The chirping sound from crickets is made when they rub their wings together. One wing has a smooth side while the other has a jagged side, creating the distinctive tone. The males, according to cricket-breeding.com, use the chirps to attract females. They also chirp during fights with each other.
The recordings have become a viral sensation even though made in 1992. Most people however, doubt its 100 percent accuracy. The composer may have done some additional arrangement that resulted in the beautiful harmony.
Jim Wilson included the original recording on the track “Ballad of the Twisted Hair”, on the album Medicine Songs. In 1994, the cricket track got featured on the soundtrack of “The Native Americans”, a TBS documentary miniseries as the track “Twisted Hair”. Opera Singer, Bonnie Jo Hunt, was also featured on the track singing an additional melody over it. This is what Ms. Hunt had to say about the recording in a 2004 interview:
“Jim Wilson recorded crickets in his back yard, and he brought it into the studio and went ahead and lowered the pitch and lowered the pitch and lowered the pitch. And they sound exactly like a well-trained church choir to me. And not only that, but it sounded to me like they were singing in the eight-tone scale. And so what–they started low, and then there was something like I would call, in musical terms, an interlude; and then another chorus part; and then an interval and another chorus. They kept going higher and higher.”
“God’s Cricket Chorus” is also an extended version of the track that does not have Ms. Hunt’s vocals or the narrative.