Radio:

7th Jan 2002 BBC London 7:20pm Drivetime
8th Jan 2002 BBC Eastern Counties 8:40pm The Steve Madden Show
7th Feb 2002 BBC Radio 5 Live 8:50pm The Breakfast Show presented by Adrian Chiles & Victoria Derbyshire
26th Feb 2002 BBC Radio 4 7:15pm Art Forum
 
Letter in Metro [London]:

‘Mind Boggling: I read about the new ring-tone of a woman having an orgasm in Metro (Mon). How do you explain that one to a five-year-old on the bus in the morning? What next? How about a ring-tone of a fart in the toilet or someone being sick? The mind boggles.’ Rosemary Thompson, Newcastle.

Press:

Copies available once again - 99 tracks - 177 ringtones. The process of transferring made-to-measure Ringtones to your mobile phone is, at present, a fixed casino... Chart hits, 'celebrity' voices, action heroes, lame keyboard melodies... so the likelihood of hearing one of these on the 07.34 from Carshalton is, at present, remote, although the J range of Sony mobiles promise better things. However each of these has been composed with exactly this eventuality in mind. All the compositions included here are in one way or another intended to be experienced as isolated, personal interventions: low-res loops, creature calls, in low-res environments, with the branding of surprise. In whichever form you find them here, do sample and employ these humble suggestions... We assume you already agree that the cheap 'cheep cheep' tones of Nokia, Ericsson and the others leave a lot to be desired. But there is huge commercial possibility here, not least with the fact that these selections have not been motivated by database usage... this is far cooler, and the contributors have responded accordingly... With New Order, Fennesz, Ryoji Ikeda, Gilbert & George, Mika Vainio, Mark Van Hoen, PITA, Hazard, Oren Ambarchi, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert, AER, Zbigniew Karkowski, Hecker, Ake Hodell, Main, Chris Watson, Regina Lund, Elgaland-Vargaland, Francisco Lopez, Disinformation, Bigert & Bergstrom, People Like Us and many many others, this release shows what is possible. Very entertaining indeed. [Boomkat, Web]

Here's a truly barmy, unrepeatable project. Anticipating the day when more people have mobile phones with a DIY ringtone facility - ie. the kind that enable you to record anything at all as your ringtone - Touch commissioned a number of composers, actors, musicians and fruitcakes to come up with their own ringtones. The results are hilarious, and hugely diverse: 177 different sound samples for you to play with. It's hard initially to think of them as ringtones, as they vary from tiny snatches of techno or classical to verbal samples, marching feet, machine noise, you name it. Tucked in amongst the 99 different contributors you can find New Order, Gilbert and George, Bruce Gilbert and Ryoji Ikeda. And things like DJ Guacamole's 'A concise history of Californian rock music in under 5 seconds', which sound a whole lot better than they really are. Many are simply noise. My favourite have to be Chris Watson's contributions (the chap who works as David Attenborough's sound recordist for his BBC progs). His selection of animal sounds, from African fish eagles and tawny owls to golden plovers and spotted hyenas, bring a welcome touch of the natural to what might otherwise just be another annoying gimmick. It will be interesting to see whether anyone takes up the challenge thrown down here by Touch - to make our technology more sonically stimulating. FB, bigchill.net

99 tracks of compositional nuggets that are little proposals to what sound(s) your (or a) cellular phone should make when it rings. The world of diminuative composition is rarely brought to our attention, yet it surrounds us in daily life. Remember the flap when Eno got paid tons of money for a three-second startup sound for Microsoft? (and what happened? They only used it for about a year!) There is music built into the machines around us, only we actually have some control over that coming from those little phones. And Touch wonders what we could put in there if we had even more? From the conceptual to the hilarious, from headscratchers to head-nodders, tons of artists represent-- all the Touch artists, most of the electronic minimalists, a random sampling of experimental musicians from around the globe. Regina Lund's 'Come Take Me' cracks me up with it's over the top breathy female entreatment, Chris Watson and Doug Quinn weigh in with nature field recordings, Lary 7 provides some anti-cell phone static that would most likely be totally ignored, and this goes on and on. Snorting, coughing, crying, twittering, snippets of radio, tiny compositions, etc.: soon maybe we can actually feed these into those little machines. [RE, Other Music, USA]

Once again Touch are ahead of the game, bringing out a selection of 99 (in/un)famous name artistes' idea of how an MP3 mobile ringtone should sound just as the phones are about to become more of a widespread reality. Some of the funniest/more alarming selections of the 177 snippets included to brighten up the commuter carriages, theatres and bus platforms of cities worldwide come from Chris Watson's barking, chirping and ullulating field recordings of animals grunting, groaning and whirring. Other options include babies wailing, radio weather forecast fragments, string introductions and anything else which can be sampled, looped and put to the vibrating alert in trouser pockets everywhere. Want to surrealise your life? Add a Gilbert And George spoken word or two or three or even four! How about an extracorporeal "Hello", Leif Elggren's cry for "help" or an ominous washing machine to counterpoint the spin of the drum in the launderette? Ringtones for every occasion, even if they might be ones of an unexpected nature - so who better to provide a sax run than Evan Parker? Chimes and drones, trills, mechanations and exclamations from New Order to Mika Vainio, calls to prayer from the downtown muezzin on the move to engine throbs and flying saucer trills, orgasms, air-raid sirens, wedding marches, static pulses, military bands and Rockouts. There are plundered choral telephonics from People Like Us, metallic noise deconstructions from Hazard and the Theremin "Therering" from Atau Tanaka to summon the recipient too. Chillingly, 11.09 provide "09.11", with it's recorded message warning "all circuits are busy now; please try your call later". Some choose to use the form for sardonic titles, like Main's crackly micro-burst tranmissions with such classics as "Where The Fuck Are You", "I'm On The Train" and "My Battery's Going". DJ Guacamole provides "A Concise History of Californian Rock Music in Under 5 Seconds" - set it on repeat for the full subliminal ultra-speed tape loop tone to impress your friends! - and likewise with the fragments of Ake Hodell's "1234" and Law & Order" for the best effect. There's so many options included here that it just remains for the damn things to go on sale to pump the tones into the memories and set about the general public with - though, alongside the warning essay on the less savoury aspects of mobile phone production, Thomas Brinkmann has thoughtfully provided a (now quaintly old-fashioned) type-in ringtone for immediate use. Now if only that geezer with the gigantic mobile on Trigger Happy TV could be sampled shouting "HELLO!!" - but then again, it's an almost dead cert that he will be. -Antron S. Meister- [freq ezine]

"Touch/Ringtones" on Touch is another great strategic disc from the label that invented intrepid sound strategies. This one is basically a sampler of various creative tones you could plug into your mobile/cell phone. Or it could encourage you to record or sample your own personal sound for the next generation of mobile phones that will have this option. This disc includes an incredible scan of possible sounds you could download to greet you instead of one of those annoying and cliched rings. Is it an audio version of a personalized license plate. I think it might be more. Inc: John Hudak, Chris Watson, Brandon Labelle, Ken Ikeda, The Japanese Imperial Army, Gen Ken, CM van Hausswolf, Fennesz, Ikue Mori, Gilbert & George, Ryoji Ikeda, Francisco Lopez, Radio Bulgaria, and many many more. [ninplant, Amsterdam]

Phone ringtone album features recording of orgasm

A recording of an orgasm features on a new compilation album of mobile phone ringtones. The Ringtones album has 177 ringtones, including three versions of the New Order track 5 8 6. The recordings are intended for use with MP3-enabled mobile phones. Also featured in the Ringtones collection are animal call-signs from David Attenborough's sound recordist, conversations between artists Gilbert and George, a sample of Mozart from a contributor to the Harry Potter soundtrack, a ringtone for soothing new-born babies, plus new recordings from a number of electronic musicians. Ringtones is released on February 25 by Touch. [www.ananova.net]


Cell phones were supposed to be the next cultural frontier: wireless Internet access, location specific "m-commerce" and a way to track your kids. But all I experience are the cheap cheep of the made-to-measure melodies of mobile ringtones. Suggesting a potential solution to the lame classical and pop tunes being bleeped at you from all sides is the British experimental label Touch, who've solicited 177 alternative ringtones from 99 sources including New Order, Wire's Graham Lewis & Bruce Gilbert, soundtrack composer Simon Fisher Turner, British conceptual artists Gilbert & George, and jazzman Evan Parker. For your approval are assembled a variety of voices and noises, including sounds from babies, animals, sirens, drum machines, broadcasters, instructional albums - even a recording from the riot at a Black Sabbath concert in Milwaukee in 1980! You'll need an advanced model to be able to load these short creations, but imagine the surprise when your phone emits one in public! [Chris Twomey, Canada]

Found sounds Ringtones and the noises of London BY DOUGLAS WOLK ------------------------------------------------------------------------

LONDON CALLING: a few bars of New Order's 'Video 5-8-6' suggest alarm patterns more than a song - and that makes them perfect for Ringtones. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are two kinds of sounds: the kind you’re supposed to pay attention to and the kind you’re supposed to ignore. Pop is an example of the former. So are alarms, especially the most common kind: ringing cell phones. Most phones can now be programmed with almost any set of notes that will interrupt your train of thought, from your favorite radio hit’s hook to simple trills. But that’s not going far enough for the compilers of Touch Ringtones (Touch), who’ve assembled several hundred hypothetical mobile-phone rings. It’s an elaborate, delicious joke on the idea of sounds that demand attention (or that can’t): a computerized voice that whispers, "Help! help!"; a barely perceptible ambient hiss; a string quartet playing a snatch of Vivaldi; a golden plover’s alert call; a smash of glass followed by a man murmuring, "I am angry"; a station identification for Radio Bulgaria. As a label, Touch specializes in recordings that push the definition of music, and parts of Ringtones are excerpted from earlier releases (a few bars of New Order’s "Video 5-8-6" that suggest alarm patterns more than a song; a chirpy newscaster announcing "cool in the north and very warm in the south"). Most of it, though, is newly commissioned from a wide range of avantish (and mostly electronic) musicians, including saxophone improviser Evan Parker, two members of Wire, and Mika Vainio of Pan Sonic. Visual artists Gilbert and George even get in on the fun with a series of tiny, dry-witted dialogues. Incongruity and brevity are the only constants. At times, Ringtones comes off as a reductio ad absurdum of pop: a "song" edited down beyond its chorus, beyond even its hook, to a single sound that makes you respond immediately. [Boston, USA]

The Financial Times 5/02/02:

SURVEY - CREATIVE BUSINESS: Will cheep cheep prove expensive? A ringtones CD points to more Napster-style copyright headaches new search | back to results  | refine search SURVEY - CREATIVE BUSINESS: Will cheep cheep prove expensive? A ringtones CD points to more Napster-style copyright headaches Financial Times; Feb 5, 2002 By MARK SOLOMONS As concept albums go, Touch: Ringtones has to be one of the wackiest. A CD containing 177 "ringtones" composed by New Order and Gilbert & George among others, it's unlikely to get much play on the radio ahead of its release later this month. The appearance of the album, however, points to a new and potentially more controversial phase in the fast-growing market for ringtones. Up until now, these have been tinny approximations of well-known tunes. Mobile phone users download them into their handsets - usually by calling a premium rate number at Pounds 1 or more a time - and the provider is then meant to pay a 10p royalty to the composer for each download (many thousands of unlicensed providers do not). As far as the money counters are concerned, the resulting series of bleeps is treated as a recording of the song and so only the composer's copyright is involved - making it purely a music publishing issue. But electronic music label Touch has produced the Ringtones album expressly to provide "real" music for the coming generation of handsets. These will allow their owners to sample and reproduce actual recordings (only certain Sony models can do this at the moment). "We assume you already agree that the 'cheep cheep' tones of Nokia, Ericsson and the others leave a lot to be desired," say the album's sleevenotes. And once actual recordings are involved, it becomes an issue for the record labels, who control those copyrights. That could involve the record labels in another ugly Napster-style clash over copyright infringement. So will the beleaguered record labels have the stomach for another fight? Certainly, there is already widespread piracy, and there has been some controversy over certain artists and writers - US bands Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, for example - not wanting their music used as ringtones (EMI issued a list of 300 of these in November). But the music publishers do not sound in the mood for a fight. David Renzer, worldwide president of Universal Music Publishing Group, says: "The state the music industry is in, anything that offers a potential new revenue stream, I'd welcome it." Renzer notes that the ringtone business already offers a variety of spin-off revenues. For example, an ad running on national TV in the US for telecoms company Sprint's cellphone service offers a promotional ringtone version of "Low Rider" by War, a copyright controlled by Universal. Renzer says the company made "a nice healthy fee" for the use of the song in the ad, and expects to generate significant revenue from people downloading it to their phones. mark.solomons@ft.com

Bizarre:

For years I'd been dreaming of having a noise recording as my ringtone - a blast of Disinformation's dense National Grid buzz perhaps, or Vomit Lunch's hypercondensed cartoon sounds. Now, thanks to Touch and the j range of Sony phones, this is possible. Touch's 45 minute CD contains 177 commissioned ringtones from artists like Bruce Gilbert - air raid siren - Swedish actress Regina Lund - orgasm - and surreal conversation pieces from Gilbert and George. A well-timed and sorely needed audio-project which should go some way to reclaiming the airwaves. Touch, out now [Mark Blacklock]

The Wire:

The chirpy, omnipresent jingles of mobile phones are aggravating at the best of times. As this compilation from the ever prescient Touch label informs us, however, a new range of phones with built-in hard disks are on the way, which will make it possible to record any kind of ringtone you want (samples, voices, sound effects), rather the usual keyboard-generated ditty from hell. Anticipating the possibilities of this slightly alarming technological development, Touch invited various composers, artists and actors to make their own ringtones. The results are recorded here — all 99 of them. The rollcall of names ranges impressively far and wide. Their combined, super-concise efforts make for pretty strange listening, especially if you attempt to brave them all in one sitting. There’s Chris Watson’s wildlife recordings of African fish eagles, spotted hyenas, wolves and other animals; Mika Vainio’s pulsing, minimal sinewaves; Bruce Gilbert’s effected air-raid siren; a clutch of tones and other audio snapshots from Fennesz that are reminiscent of Nuno Canavarro’s "Plux Quba"; a few "Blue Monday"-like grooves from New Order; several exchanges between Gilbert & George, delivered in a deadpan, plummy voice, along the lines of "Should we have lunch, and then go shopping, or should we go shopping first?"; extreme electronic noise drone from Lary 7; DJ Guacamole’s "A Concise History Of Californian Rock Music", which sounds like vinyl spun at 1000 rpm; a wailing baby; piercing whines; crackling records; ear-shredding turbine hum (which might tempt some people to start fixing bigger speakers to their phones for the ultimate in public provocation); brass bands; church organs; and an ultra-condensed sax solo from Evan Parker. The list goes on. Inevitably, judged as a conventional CD, Ringtones makes for a schizophrenic, intriguing, irritating, unclassifiable stop-start experience. Perhaps this is what music will sound like once the world has been reduced to soundbites, and our attention spans demand five second hits instead of three minute pop songs. As a bank of specially commissioned samples, however, it’s quite handy, even if you hate mobiles. Touch supremo Jon Wozencroft’s sleevenotes invite the listener to "sample, reformat and employ these humble suggestions", conceding that "the likelihood of hearing one of these on the 07:34 from the suburbs is, at present, remote". [Jeremy Maunsell]

and featured:

Dispatches from the digital domain. This month: Touch’s Ringtones CD highlights the mobile phone industry's lack of imagination.
 
Looks weird, sounds great". With the release of Touch Ringtones, Nokia’s current advertising slogan for its new range of mobile phones takes on a whole new meaning. By "sounds great", their advertising gurus surely didn’t have Farmer’s Manual’s abrasive clicks ’n’ croaks, Bruce Gilbert’s air raid samples or Kaffe Matthews’s crackly chirrups in mind. New-generation mobile technology allows the user to record a small sample of any sound on a memory chip, opening up the possibility for an infinite number of noises it could use to attract attention. Ringtones contains 99 suggested sounds for the purpose — tones and digital noises by the likes of Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda; sound effects such as a baby crying and Swedish actress Regina Lund’s recording of a giggly orgasm; and whimsical absurdities like DJ Guacamole’s "A Concise History Of Californian Rock Music In Under 5 Seconds" and London artists Gilbert & George’s po-faced micro-dialogues: "How shall we spend the day, Gilbert? Just now I like to see the falling of the light through the window", and "Why don’t we go out and buy a vase?". "We sent out the brief to more or less everyone we’d worked with in recent years, and to various others whose address we had and whose work we respected," explains Touch’s Mike Harding, who put Ringtones together with partner Jon Wozencroft. "We asked them to submit a ringtone which they would like to hear on their mobile phone... initially they were advised that it should be loopable, and last up to four seconds, but some submissions ignored this," he explains. Some contributions last up to one minute, while Cologne’s Thomas Brinkmann bypassed all restrictions by submitting a written table of digits which makes up his proposed ringtone: to hear it, you have to program it in yourself using the phone’s ‘compose’ function. Harding’s sleevenotes uncover the dark backdrop to the mobile phone industry’s images of ‘friends reunited’ and ‘life full of one to ones’. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it’s estimated that two million lives have been claimed by the illegal mining of the mineral Coltan, a highly efficient electrical conductor used in computers and mobile phones. A UN report highlighting these tragedies is downloadable from the Touch Website (www.touch.demon.co.uk). A recent survey reported that one mobile phone is stolen in the UK every minute, the thefts usually committed by under-16s. Even without the added complexities of criminal, health and political issues, there is a significant backlash simply against the intrusive effect of mobile phones into daily life and their effect on the social environment. ‘Cell-yell’ is a term coined in the USA for people who shout into their mobiles; and a Website, www.cellmanners.com, has been set up solely for "promoting civility between phone users and the people around them". Phonebashing.com is a less civilised version, set up by people who hate mobiles so much they take pleasure in bashing inconsiderate users and documenting their revenge attacks on the Web. "As you would expect, there were a handful of artists [we approached] who would have nothing to do with anything related to mobile phones," Harding admits. Ringtones attempts to address these controversies, as well as to critique, in Harding’s words, "the innately conservative attitudes of telecom companies — and users. The lack of imagination that is coupled with new technologies that claim the future to be theirs." Imagine, for example, sitting on the train home and hearing, instead of a constricted facsimile of Flight Of The Bumblebee, the cry of corncrakes and African fish eagles, howling wolves and hyenas, or the song of an Atlantic puffin, all courtesy of former Cabaret Voltaire man Chris Watson. When asked whether it’s Touch’s utopian dream to transmute the commuter train experience into a sampladelic symphony or an approximation of the African savannah, Harding soberly hopes people will appreciate "the balance between the practical and the provocational. In other words, while it would be really amazing to hear baby gurglings, air raid warnings or Gilbert & George on a train journey, you wouldn’t want to be in a carriage full of Pita ringtones!" 15 years ago the mobile was a yuppie toy (think Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, standing on his empty beach with a plastic brick pressed against his ear). Mass-production and marketing only kicked in over the last five years, and the phone now is one of the main conduits for communication, information and entertainment in the West, which will only increase with the emphasis on increased content-provision via WAP services. In a recent survey on mobiles commissioned by Motorola, cyberfeminist Sadie Plant argues that, in countries like Afghanistan, whose landscape and infrastructure effectively prohibits the installation of telephone lines, it will be much easier to bring in telephony and the Internet via satellite. Soon, the mobile network will encircle the globe — but that doesn’t help when it cannot cope with the most precarious of situations. Ringtones ends with the cold automated voice which greeted network callers on 11 September in New York: "All circuits are busy now, please try your call later". [Anne Hilde Neset]

Muzik:

VITAL RELEASE

Music is the soundtrack to life, so they say when they're trying to sell you some. So why waste yours with preset mobile phone rings called things like "Pop Music # 4", or even worse, downloadable choons that you can hear on the radio every five minutes anyway? Enter Touch, who've persuaded everyone from New Order to Gilbert & George to their international roster of artists to contribute their own ringtones for the next generation of hard disk handsets. And no, it's not sponsored by Sony. Works as a strange listening experience in its own right, but imagine hearing these on the bus... 4/5 [Tom Mugridge]

Washington City Paper [USA]:

Remember how irritating those sound-effects LPs of the '70s were?
Well, welcome to a new millenium of irritation with the splendidly jarring 99 tracks of Touch: Ringtones, none of which were generated by the mechanism in your Nokia. From Vivaldi snippets (bits of The Four Seasons isolated courtesy of Bigert & Bergstrom) to the sound of spraying water (Cecilia Heisser's "Molar"), these miniscule sound moments can be programmed into your phone to either raise or lower the grrr-factor of passers-by when you receive a call. The clips are deliriously diverse and playful: The World of Gilbert & George contributes langorous spoken-word entries, Rosalind Waters captures a pristine 8 notes from Mozart's "Queen of the Night" coloratura aria, Homage to Pan Sonic offers the sound of a hissy, scratched record, and Regina Lund tapes a desperate-sounding woman moaning "Come, take me, take me now" - which ought to wake up your seatmates at the Kennedy Centre. Lovely moments abound: AER's resonating "Arctic", alku 2000's gongy "El Ringtones es el Challenge", Disinformation's fuzzed-out "Live", and Ikue Mori's enviro-friendly "Trickling", which is about the furthest thing possible from the angsty rustling of A Ringtone From Under the Floorboards' untitled mininumber. Perhaps best of all, Marcus Davidson toys with his assignment in "Ringer's Revenge" - a regular ring followed by a gunshot. Of course, context is everything: Touch isn't counting on Ringtones to be a headphones album, unless its constituency is extremely high at the time. But in the absence of any new Sun Ra records, this is the perfect CD to put on at the very end of a party to frighten away the hangers-on, intrigue the hard-core, and frighten the shit out of the cats. [Arion Berger]

Blow Up [Italy]:

Are you not satisfied with the sound (ring) of your cellular telephone? Too annoying or commonplace? Don't panic, replace it with one of the 99 possibilities offered by "Ringtones", the latest trick from the Touch firm (label). There is enough to be amused and to satisfy your whims. Of course here have been collected 99 of the usual 'suspects', from those loyal to the firm (Fennesz, Ikeda, Vainio, Ambarchi, Watson etc...) to all the other kindred spirits (you can easily imagine who they are). A similar operation was done by Staalplaat some yeasr ago with "The Answering Machine Solution" to celebrate its 100 release... Strange and odd operations for sure, but do not ask my mark... [Gino Da Soler]

Business Mobile [UK]:

MEG RYAN WANNABES

Te latest craze in mobile ringtones is likely to give Meg Ryan a run for her money in the fake orgasm stakes. Thanks to Ringtones, mobile phone users wanting to impress, or perhaps I should say shock, others can obtain a compilation record of mobile ringtones which includes the recording of an orgasm. The record will be released at the end of this month. (Dawn Reid)

Internet:

Respect to everyone who refused to be on it because they hate mobile phones or were too busy to contribute. The tenor of the times. Or the tones, as the case may be. Ambivalence follows hot on the heels of this particular kind of computer love but I think its fucking great, this whole thing. Its rather reminiscent (but in no way derivative of) the Big City Orchestra sound effects catalogues series of cds, and, in a lesser way, the library music of Joel (Brainticket) Vandroogenbroeck, et al. Further, it makes a fab and poptastic companion piece to The Answering Machine Solution compilation cd released by Staalplaat a few years ago. Oh, and its a metric shitload of sounds you too can program into your celphone. We have enough noise pollution in the world without some of it coming from our team. Go, team! This includes the usual Touch / Ash International roster (Chris Watson, Bruce Gilbert, Disinformation, S.E.T.I., etc.) and entries from Kaffe Matthews, C.M. von Hausswolff, Gilbert & George, New Order, et, cetera, and so on. It smells like fresh cardboard and the moire of the cover is not the black that carries your fingerprints on it until kingdom-fucking-come (when, exactly?). All good things. Highly recommended because it touches on the first of three fundamental human responses (humour; the other two being sex and violence) to spur the modern response of can you get that? [David Cotner]

Record Collector [UK]:

On Ringtones, cherishable experimental label Touch contemplates the sonic possibilities of the mobile phone, inviting composers, artists, actors and musicians to record their own ringtones for use with the new range of portables with built-in hard discs (rather than keyboard generated tones).  The disc's 99 tracks, incorporating 177 ringtones, includes three versions of New Order's proto-Blue Monday recording "Video 5-8-6", animal call-signs curated by David Attenborough's sound recordist, conversations between artists Gilbert and George, a recording of an orgasm, a trill of Mozart from a contributor to the Harry Potter soundtrack, sounds for soothing new-born babies plus new recordings from a number of electronic musicians including Mark Van Hoen and DJ Guacamole.  The sleeve is illustrated with a beautifully shot photo of a church window, implicitly highlighting the near-religious fervor with which mobile phones are worshipped in the early 21st century:  Ringtones makes an amusing, moving, sometimes polemical elegy to the phenomenon. [David Hemingway]

The Mighty Organ [web]

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in our lives, so do the opportunities for creative investigation of its nooks and crannies, and this is precisely where these two CDs are coming from. Touch Ringtones is exactly what it claims to be - a collection of ringtones for your mobile. Grant you, this does not sound promising if you are used to current ringtones, plinky one-note massacres of top-ten hits or the same 'classics' that used to infect 'call-waiting' tones. Fortunately, the contributors here are looking to the future: the next wave of phones that will have the capacity to use samples as ringtones. Phew! Touch label boss Jon Wozencroft invited a vast range of contributors from the worlds of art, music and beyond (beyond this world, in one case) to submit pieces for use as ringtones and has come up trumps with 99 ultra-short tracks containing well over 100 possible tones. This, perhaps, says something about the acceleration of culture: 20 years ago we had Morgan Fisher carrying out a similar exercise with his Miniatures album of tracks one minute long; now the tracks last seconds. The result, though, is just as rich and glorious as Miniatures and, surprisingly, stands up remarkably well as a piece of straight listening, with the selection of sounds making an intoxicating blend which has you constantly leaping for the track listing going: "Wow! What was that?" There are baby's cries; metal riffing from Grime; shopping discussions from Gilbert and George; wolves, owls and eagles from David Attenborough's sound recordist Chris Watson; orgasms; homages to Hendrix; sirens; hums; Japanese bellowing; number stations; Evan Parker sax bursts; and even the sound of the Crab Nebula from the SETI project. Some contributions are serious attempts at ringtones, others jokes, some pieces taking advantage of the ultra-short format, but virtually all are interesting, and those that aren't are too short to be boring. Huge fun, and I'm sure a few of these will find their way onto my phone one day. [Ian Simmons]

The Sound Projector (UK):

A concept disc consisting of possible ringtones for your mobile. Predictably hit and miss, fluctuating from lame voice samples to cute miniature compositions and including all manner of beeps and screeches. A bit too stop and start to just sit down and listen to, more like a box of Lego before play commences. I recommend shoving all the tracks into a computer and constructing something more interesting out of it. [Alasdair Willis]

nthposition (web):

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in our lives, so do the opportunities for creative investigation of its nooks and crannies, and this is precisely where this CD is coming from. Touch Ringtones is exactly what it claims to be - a collection of ringtones for your mobile. Grant you, this does not sound promising if you are used to current ringtones, plinky one-note massacres of top-ten hits or the same 'classics' that used to infect 'call-waiting' tones. Fortunately, the contributors here are looking to the future: the next wave of phones that will have the capacity to use samples as ringtones. Phew! Touch label boss Jon Wozencroft invited a vast range of contributors from the worlds of art, music and beyond (beyond this world, in one case) to submit pieces for use as ringtones and has come up trumps with 99 ultra-short tracks containing well over 100 possible tones. This, perhaps, says something about the acceleration of culture: 20 years ago we had Morgan Fisher carrying out a similar exercise with his Miniatures album of tracks one minute long; now the tracks last seconds. The result, though, is just as rich and glorious as Miniatures and, surprisingly, stands up remarkably well as a piece of straight listening, with the selection of sounds making an intoxicating blend which has you constantly leaping for the track listing going: "Wow! What was that?" There are baby's cries; metal riffing from Grime; shopping discussions from Gilbert and George; wolves, owls and eagles from David Attenborough's sound recordist Chris Watson; orgasms; homages to Hendrix; sirens; hums; Japanese bellowing; number stations; Evan Parker sax bursts; and even the sound of the Crab Nebula from the SETI project. Some contributions are serious attempts at ringtones, others jokes, some pieces taking advantage of the ultra-short format, but virtually all are interesting, and those that aren't are too short to be boring. Huge fun, and I'm sure a few of these will find their way onto my phone one day. [Ian Simmons]