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.