call pop [disquiet0024-alertsuite]


This week’s junto project was about “functional music.” We were charged with creating four individual sounds that serve as alerts for digital communications. They will be in these categories:

1) email arrival, 2) incoming phone call, 3) new IM received, 4) calendar event alert

The goal is that the four alerts will work together as a suite — that is, that they will complement each other, yet be distinct and recognizable from each other. For the purposes of the Disquiet Junto, we were to present these four alert sounds as one single track, repeating each sound a few times.


I had written an even more orchestrated piece this weekend. All of a sudden, though, it became a fictional 80s sitcom theme and didn’t really fit the assignment. So I reworked tiny bits of it into what you hear here. If you’re curious, the link to the other track is here: Thereflectors – Call-pop.

Fwiw, I’ve used a splice of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes as my ringtone since I’ve had an mp3 capable smart-phone, so treating a longer, orchestrated track as a single “tone” felt like fair game. The guitar is in a 6th string drop-d tuning and just moves IV-I around a single phrase that moves up an octave in 5ths, (which was the ending phrase of my original track). I suppose this 5ths phrase is the “ringing” here, but I still like the concept of an orchestrated ringtone, fwiw. I tried to build the urgency (“pick up the call, would you!”) by adding maracas and clapping (which are the email and text alerts, respectively). Figured also a percussion build might help locate the phone in a deep bag. The title, btw, was also kind of a backwards-induced Father’s Day reference (yesterday, 17 June 2012, having been the day we celebrate “pop” – i.e., “dad” – here in the U.S.).

Email alert:
I get a lot of emails over the course of a day and did not want something too obtrusive. I shook a pair of maracas and thought “I wouldn’t mind hearing that peaceful shushing 18,000 times a day.”

Event alert:
The final rhythm guitar strum of the ringtone.

Text / IM / SMS alert:
Felt this deserved the most urgency of all the alerts (“hear me now, dammit!”), so it’s the repeated hand clap phrase from the ringtone. My text alert now on my iphone is the stock “telegraph” sound, so I tried to evoke this telegraph with a 3-clap phrase.

I’ll admit all of the alerts here are not very “alert-y,” but living in the bigbig city, I tend to not want to carry too many sirens in my pocket as I hear them enough trying to sleep.

As always, the junto is serious fun and lets me see myself in a totally new context.


More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

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