Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Ringtones

I love the New Yorker and its polymathic ability to splash any subject across its pages. Case in point: in this week's issue, Sasha Frere-Jones examines the world of ringtones, and notes that the advent of master tones might mean impending nostalgia for polyphonic ringtones.
Transitional stages of technology often have their own imperfect charms, memorable in ways that no one could have predicted. Polyphonic-ringtone nostalgia is approximately six months away.
It's funny how an increased speed of obsolescence means an increasing speed of nostalgia. The next stage will be for such tones to become "retro"...

The master tones, however, do mean many genres sound decent on the phone, whereas now, as Rob Walker pointed out a while back, only hip-hop seems to translate well onto the phone. Right now, I use the version of Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1" that came with my Nokia as my ringtone - I needed something that doesn't sound like an urgent call to attention, something that taps my shoulder for attention rather than screams its way into my consciousness - and it would be nice to have a fuller-sounding version of the piece.

Of course, if I had a Sprint phone, I guess I could have "Bananaphone" as my ringtone.



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