Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ring my bell

I know, I know, normally I write here about music I'm obsessed with, and this subject absolutely does not qualify, but I'm gonna post it anyway. Given my recent track record as a blogger, you should be grateful that I'm writing anything.

Very interesting NPR story tonight on the popularity of rapper T-Pain as an, ahem, "ringtone artist." (Whoops, I've just opened the door to everyone googling "T-Pain+ringtones." Welcome, one and all--you will not find what you are looking for here, I assure you, but feel free to stick around and discuss Autechre, the Beach Boys, and bossa nova with us.) There is a related story here.

What I found most interesting about the piece was the analogy to Bing Crosby, who became a hit on early recordings because his crooning sounded good on Victrolas. The theory is that Mr. Pain's voice (as the Times surely calls him) has the same effect on the tiny speakers of cell phones. It's probably the only time Der Bingle and T-P have been mentioned in the same sentence.

As for the specific quality of his voice that's causing all the attention, it's the product of a vocoder, we are told--as if he's the first guy who ever sang through one of those devices. So much for Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Madonna, Cher ... Anybody wanna try "Rocky Mountain Way" on a phone?

Me, I'm sticking with my simple little flutelike sound, short and sweet and reminds me of H. R. Pufnstuf. No strippers involved.

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