Tag Archives: Community Ringtone Recording Session

Assemble Tone Series Part II (Pittsburgh, PA)


Bobbi Williams is a regular at Pittsburgh’s maker space, Assemble, and a “performance artist supernova from the planet of Venus.” Williams, who lives in Forest Hills, is a Reiki Master and playwright. Here’s her beautiful a capella Morning Star Ringtone, which she described as a “transmission from the intergalactic planet of love.” The general vibe at Assemble is its positive energy. And that energy is clearly apparent in Part II of their tone series.



Garfield resident Ben Saks stopped by our Community Ringtone Recording Session with his guitar to offer this Out Of Tune Tone. Saks, a filmmaker, said that the idea being “out of tune can help us to think about things that are in tune.” Harmony as a goal is a good thing, right? See what I mean about the tendency towards positivity?



Jason Harlait showed up with a very clear goal in mind–to make something musical out of everyday items. Here’s his The Jar Has a Lid Tone. In it, Harlait makes the jar lid “pop” while he taps out a rhythm on the glass jar with a plastic spoon. A resident of Squirrel Hill, and a frequent maker of things at Assemble, Harlait told me he enjoys stopping by the space where he can get in touch with his creativity.



Near the end of our Saturday session, two little girls, Kennedi and Deziree popped in to contribute their Divas = Dance Tone. Nothing like the audio in the Diva Dance sequence from the movie The Fifth Element, this track includes sounds of the girls using their voices and stepping or cheerleading footwork. Deziree and Kennedi told me they wanted to surprise their families with the gift of this ringtone. Their sound reminds me of the kinds of cheers that the little girls used to learn from the older girls at grade school.



It’s so appropriate to have Kennedi’s spoken-word Peanut Butter Jelly Time Tone as the Assemble finale–after all, the recording session took place in an art and technology space. What sounded to me like a jump rope song turned out to be an Internet Meme (thanks for clueing me in, Nick Pozek!). As one of my favorite Web sites, Know Your Meme reports, “The first Peanut Butter Jelly Time flash animation was created by Ryan Gancenia Etrata and Kevin Flynn under the screen names RalphWiggum and Comrade Flynn, and posted onto the Offtopic.com forums in early 2002.”


You got it–during a Locally Toned community recording session a little girl came into an art and technology space to perform a spoken-word treatment of an Internet Meme as a ringtone (to be shared with others free of charge online). From the Internet, and back to the Internet, O, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, you have returned!



Thanks to Kennedi for winding down the series with her vocal exuberance and smart concept, and thanks to all the participants at Assemble’s Community Ringtone Recording Session!



The tone series created at Assemble was made possible by a generous grant from The Fine Foundation.







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Come Record Ringtones Saturday 19 Nov

Saturday Nov 19, 2011 12-4pm 

Location:  Assemble, 5125 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224-1636

Artist T. Foley brings her public art/original ringtone creation project Locally Toned to Assemble on Saturday November 19, 2011 for a Community Ringtone Recording Session.

Open to the public–come join us!

What does Pittsburgh sound like? You! Bring your robots, moo-cow toys, drums, rattles, harmonica or voice, and your super-bad self, and MAKE YOUR OWN TONE! Assemble will provide the space and minimal collaborative support for the session; the artist will provide the technical know-how and all recording equipment. Audio content must be copyright free (i.e., original compositions or sounds which exists in the natural world). Tone duration will be 30 seconds or less. Participants at this session will be photographed for possible inclusion in project exhibitions and archives. Tones will be made available to the public (as MP3s) by the end of November 2011 at www.locallytoned.org. Collaborative experiences are documented on the project Blog, and tones are pinpointed on a Google Map embedded on the tone distribution website. Funding for this Community Ringtone Recording Session has been provided by The Fine Foundation.

Assemble, a new venue in the Penn Ave Arts District, is a place where one can engage their intrigue through hands on activities about art and technology. Physical and nonphysical social and creative connections are fostered through film screenings, happenings, workshops, lectures, and community activities. assemble will activate the community with the contributions and presence of the audience and makers. With specific times for young and old makers alike, learning or making does not have to end when the work or school bell rings, it can become integrated into every aspect of life and time in the day. Founded on the concepts of sustainability, community, science, architecture, new media, and lowtech/hightech art, assemble will be a place for CREATION!


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Housatonic Museum of Art: Community Recording Session

The Locally Toned slogan I came up with a couple of years ago, YOU SHOULD BE A RINGTONE, pretty much sums up the Bridgeport, CT community recording session at the Housatonic Museum of Art. That’s because the people who came out for it really let their talents and personalities “ring” true (and through) in their tones!

Yotisse Williams walked into the session with the smallest (blue) guitar I’d ever seen–a Washburn Rover (he later told me). Williams shared an original musical composition and vocals–here’s his  Y Tone. He also allowed me to document the performance of his ringtone with video:

Garrick Moss told me he’d been playing piano since he was 7 years old. This is his gentle-sounding Moss Melody Ringtone.

Our next contributor was Lamont Mack from Stratford, CT. His improvised several vocalise “takes” for his a cappella contribution to the project, RJ’s Scit Scat Tone.

Photographer Andreas Kornfeld sent in his humorous and computer-generated Ex-Wife Alert via email. I added a tiny clip to the end of his track from audio that contributor Thiago Hersan sent into the project last year.

Officer Darrin Johnson “Munchkins,” on the security staff at the Housatonic Community College, stopped by during his break to record his seriously silly Officer Munchkins Ringtone. Johnson told me he enjoys sharing his sense of humor with people. He asked if I could add a siren sound effect to his tone (I did).

Paul Clabby, an artist, curator and (you guessed it!) tennis player, showed up with a racquet and ball to make this Tennis Anyone? Ringtone. Clabby told me he has a friend who calls a bit too often requesting to play tennis, and so he wanted to create an alert to specifically identify calls from that person. Clabby hopes others will also find his tennis tone useful, too. Check out this video, recorded by IT’S FOR YOU curator, Terri C Smith, of Clabby playing tennis while I record audio:

Nine year old Evan Rose also showed up to the recording session with his own sporting equipment to make this Click Clack Pool Table Tone. He and his father rescued the mini-table from a landfill (when a neighbor set it out on the curb one night as trash).

And just when I was wondering where all the lady-Bridgeport contributors were, we had a walk-in from Ms. Kendra Addison. She appeared during the last few minutes of our session to contribute her delightfully obnoxious LaLaLa Tone.

BTW, Bill Finch–the Mayor of Bridgeport–reportedly walked by the college during our recording session. Curator Terri C Smith saw him and invited him to make a tone. Since he was pressed for time, he couldn’t join us. Smith asked him what sound he’d choose for a Bridgeport tone, he replied, “The sound of a truck backing up!” I’ll see what I can do, Mayor Finch.

Thanks to the Housatonic Art Museum staff (curator Terri C Smith, director Robbin Zella and assistants Dominic and Nicholas Maloney) and to their supporters (!), and to all the community members and students who contributed tones to the project. Additional thanks to my brother, Don Foley, who gifted me the Flip camera so I could easily make video field recordings.


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