A Modern Symphony of Music that Is Not Music but Asks that You Remember Music


We are just loving the advance reading copy of David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries that we got in the mail today. Plenty of quotable material from Byrne’s discursive journeys, but why not share one of our favorite musician’s thoughts on ring tones?

I hear the faint cacophony of many distant cell-phone rings in the train car–snippets of Mozart and hip-hop, old-school ring tones, and pop-song fragments–all emanating out of minuscule phone speakers. All tinkling away here and there. All incredibly poor reproductions of other music. These ring tones are “signs” for “real” music. This is music not meant to be actually listened to as music, but to remind you of and refer to other, real, music. These are audio road signs that proclaim “I am a Mozart person” or, more often, “I can’t even be bothered to select a ring tone.” A modern symphony of music that is not music but asks that you remember music.