Herman’s a friend of mine–a musician, audio producer and DJ. A few weeks ago, I was at a party at Herman’s house, and when we were chatting we discovered that we were both into making ringtones. We played dueling ringtones, right there in his living room, off our phones. Herman explained that he wasn’t into mainstream music ringtones, that he actually liked making old-fashioned alert signals (an audio signal that lets you know someone is trying to reach you). Listen to one of Herman’s alert tones now [Modular Ringtone No. 11 by DJ Soy Sos.].
I invited Herman to submit some tones to the project, and when I discovered that he had a small collection of Mbiras (African thumb pianos), I asked if he would make some mbira ringtones. Yesterday he sent a number of thumb piano tones for me to listen to, and I noticed that they weren’t 100% acoustic recordings. I asked him why he didn’t make “untreated” or acoustic mbira tones for the project.
“Because I’m using electronics to simulate the African technique which, musically, is not to use a pure Western tone.” It’s an aesthetic/musical integrity issue. But since I wondered how the tones would play back over a phone, I asked him to run some acoustic mbira tones for me so we could test out many tone flavors. “Sure I will, because it’s all pure love, baby,” he said. Here’s one of the mbira tones with added electronics Mbira Tone No. C2 by DJ Soy Sos. Herman promises untreated mbira tones soon. I’ll be sure to post one to the blog as soon as it’s fresh off his audio editing system.