Ringtones Composed by Brian Eno for the Nokia 8800 Scirocco Phone

Many people know that Brian Eno composed the Start tone for Windows 95, which has become his most-heard piece of music. But Eno also composed ringtones for the Nokia 8800 Scirocco phone, which was released back in 2006.

OpenCulture has an article about this today, and includes a YouTube “video” which plays all these ringtones. As the article says, they do somewhat recall the Laraji album which was part of his Ambient series of records back in the 1970s and 1980s. But when you hear the ringtones you can tell that Eno really did try to compose music out of the limited palette of sounds that was available.

At that time they were asking you to compose a piece of music, but you could only use those sounds. They would compose ringtones out of these – beep boo boop, beepy noises. So I thought, ‘That’s hopeless – what can you do with that?’ You know the sound I mean, neep neep neep; so people were composing neep-neep neep-neep nee-nee nee-nee. In the meantime things changed so they had polyphonic tones; so you could actually have more complicated sounds. It’s not really a great medium for writing music.

You can also download the ringtones here.

A Conversation With Brian Eno About Ambient Music – Pitchfork

I really think that for us, who all grew up listening primarily to recorded music, we tend to forget that until about 120 years ago ephemeral experience was the only one people had. I remember reading about a huge fan of Beethoven who lived to the age of 86 [in the era before recordings], and the great triumph of his life was that he’d managed to hear the Fifth Symphony six times. That’s pretty amazing. They would have been spread over many years, so there would have been no way of reliably comparing those performances.

All of our musical experience is based on the possibility of repetition, and of portability, so you can move music around to where you want to be, and scrutiny, because repetition allows scrutiny. You can go into something and hear it again and again. That’s really produced quite a different attitude to what is allowable in music. I always say that modern jazz wouldn’t have existed without recording, because to make improvisations sound sensible, you need to hear them again and again, so that all those little details that sound a bit random at first start to fit. You anticipate them and they seem right after a while. So in a way, the apps and the generative music are borrowing from all of the technology that has evolved in connection with recorded music and making a new kind of live, ephemeral, unfixable music. It’s a quite interesting historical moment.

A fascinating interview about ambient music and more.

Source: A Conversation With Brian Eno About Ambient Music | Pitchfork

Brian Eno: ‘We’ve been in decline for 40 years – Trump is a chance to rethink’ – The Guardian

Eno says he hates talking about himself. “I’m not interested in that personality aspect of being an artist. It’s all based on the idea that artists are automatically interesting people. I can tell you they aren’t. Their art might be very interesting, but as people they are no more or less interesting than anybody else. And I’m really not at all interested in talking about Brian Eno. His ideas, however, I think have something to recommend them.”

So what is Brian Eno working on at the moment, I ask. “I’m interested in the idea of generative music as a sort of model for how society or politics could work. I’m working out the ideas I’m interested in, about how you make a working society rather than a dysfunctional one like the one we live in at the moment – by trying to make music in a new way. I’m trying to see what kinds of models and and structures make the music I want to hear, and then I’m finding it’s not a bad idea to try to think about making societies in that way.”

This is an interesting interview, but it becomes a bit confrontational. Eno is understandably tired of talking about the past. He discusses his latest composition Reflection, which I reviewed here. I also talked with Peter Chilvers, the designer of the app version of Reflection, on this episode of The Next Track podcast.

Source: Brian Eno: ‘We’ve been in decline for 40 years – Trump is a chance to rethink’ | Music | The Guardian

The Next Track Episode #35 – Musician and Developer Peter Chilvers on Brian Eno’s Album and App Reflection

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxMusician and developer Peter Chilvers discusses making apps with Brian Eno, including the new generative music composition Reflection.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #35 – Musician and Developer Peter Chilvers on Brian Eno’s Album and App Reflection.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.