We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Various Artists

The Nature Company

There are no animals as domesticated as the Jingle Cats on Phil Aaberg and Bernie Krause’s entry in the animal caroling sweepstakes. The animal noises on the pair’s A Wild Christmas were collected by Krause and then digitally manipulated to produce semblances of familiar Christmas songs. Though most of the noises are transformed in order to replicate instruments in an orchestra—a bat becomes a flute, chimps become cellos, dolphins become violins, parrot fish become snare drums—some appear au naturel. Considering that Christ was born in a barn, the chorus of dogs, coyotes, sheep, and pigs on the disc’s opener, “Deck the Halls,” is not wholly inappropriate. Most of the sounds, however, are heavily distorted and the resulting tunes resemble a Casio practice session. The baby mountain gorillas that provide the melody for “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Shalom Chaverim,” for example, sound like they’ve been stepped on, and the “breeding male humpback whales” who lend verve to “Jingle Bells” are just plain alarming. On the other hand, the central American potoo does give Judy Collins a run for her money on “Amazing Grace.”