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Robert Fripp to Compose Vista's Soundtrack 362

brainstem writes "Recently, King Crimson founder, guitar master, and all around eccentric musical genius Robert Fripp spent a few days at the MS Campus recording soundscapes for Vista. Fripp, who has been at the forefront of electronic guitar composition for more than 35 years, first using analog tape delays, then with digital effects. He infused his unique brand of Frippertronics on the MS crowd. The Channel 9 site has posted a 25 minute video, chronicalling the event. Now I guess I finally have a reason to leave the default Windows sounds enabled."
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Robert Fripp to Compose Vista's Soundtrack

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  • by glomph ( 2644 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:38AM (#14407495) Homepage Journal
    I'll use it for my KDE start sound...
    • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:30AM (#14407655) Homepage Journal
      No, you won't. The sounds will be in defective (copy-protected) Windows Media audio files. You won't be able to play them on anything but Windows.


    • Actually, it might not be a good idea...
      Obligatory quote from I-don't-know-where :
      People say Microsoft paid $14M for using the Rolling Stones song 'Start me up' in their commercials.
      This is wrong.
      Microsoft paid $14M only for a part of the song.
      For instance, they didn't use the line 'You'll make a grown man cry'.
    • What is it about using a few MB of Microsoft's bandwidth to download their .WMV file to play in XINE on my Fedora Core 3 laptop that makes me, eh, happy????

      Not that I care all that much, but THEY set up some goofy "mms" protocol that makes me download their entire !@#!@ movie before playing it, instead of streaming over HTTP like any other sane person... so I'll download the entire thing before watching 10-20 seconds of their 20 minute video...

      I guess they can afford the $0.01 or two this download will cost
      • Not that I care all that much, but THEY set up some goofy "mms" protocol that makes me download their entire !@#!@ movie before playing it, instead of streaming over HTTP like any other sane person... so I'll download the entire thing before watching 10-20 seconds of their 20 minute video...

        MMS [] is a streaming protocol. Streaming over HTTP is just plain dumb, if you want to skip forward/backward in the stream you have to interrupt communications to issue a new request and the protocol offers no resilience to
    • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @07:18AM (#14408050)
      It will just be Steve Ballmer chanting maniacally "I repeat myself when under stress! I repeat myself when under stress!" over and over until you restart the machine.
    • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:57AM (#14409375) Journal
      I wish operating systems *did not* come with frigging sound tracks. Every morning at work I have to listen to "Ding d'd'ding derr derr" as people log on, and "Ding ding doo ding!" when they go home and all other associated unnecessary sound. It would be nice if these sound tracks were off by default. Mind you, it used to be worse with Windows 95 - dong bllllllooob BING BIng Bing bing...
  • by Exluddite ( 851324 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:42AM (#14407512)
    of the Redmond King?
    • by doxology ( 636469 ) <cozzyd&mit,edu> on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:54AM (#14407547) Homepage

      Here are the songs that Fripp is composing for Microsoft:

      21st Century Schizoid DRM including Smoke and Mirrors
      I Talk to the Windows
      Epitaph, Including Bloat for No Reason and an Exploit Tomorrow
      Sunchild Java Machine (Including the Dream and the Illusion of compatibility)
      The Court of the Redmont King including the Return of the BSOD and the Dance of Clippy

      Hint for the unacquainted []

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Vista shutdown sound: aethereal background synth and a hollow voice whispering 'confusion will be my epithaph'
      • Re:In the Court... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vought ( 160908 )
        When I read about Fripp doing the Windows sound earlier today, I was a little disaffected.

        I mean, I thought he had better taste than that. I've been a Crimson fan for quite some time. I know folks who have studied under Fripp. He strikes me in the third person as very un-windows-user-ish.

        But I guess everyone has their price.

        I wonder if they'll use another one of Nathan Mhyrvold's shitty pictures for the background picture in Vista? He's a decent photographer, but the background picture for XP was badly inte
        • I mean, I thought he had better taste than that. I've been a Crimson fan for quite some time. I know folks who have studied under Fripp. He strikes me in the third person as very un-windows-user-ish.
          He's got bills to pay too you know. I'll bet King Crimson isn't exactly as big of a bread-winner for him as they once were.
        • Re:In the Court... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
          >very un-windows-user-ish.

          What does that mean? That anyone who does anything remotely creative must be using a mac, because, well, macs are kewl to the kiddies? Because Apple uses pictures of artists in their commercials?

          Oh please.

          A machine is a tool and a surprsingly small amount of people take the fanboy OS wars seriously. Good for them. I hope Fripp enjoys his cash, makes some decent music, and doesnt have to deal with OS fanatics.
        • Re:In the Court... (Score:3, Informative)

          by M-G ( 44998 )
          I mean, I thought he had better taste than that. I've been a Crimson fan for quite some time. I know folks who have studied under Fripp. He strikes me in the third person as very un-windows-user-ish.

          Perhaps, but I suspect Fripp saw it as a challenge. You know, Discipline and all that.

          I'm wondering if you got that impression from the fact that he despises the major labels? He absolutely hates them for their business practices, but he does actually respect copyrights to the extent that any artist who releas
      • by DreadfulGrape ( 398188 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @08:34AM (#14408225)
        And don't forget...

        Larks' Tongues in ASP
    • Nah, more like "One More Redmond Nightmare"
    • Who are all the court jester schmucks in the video standing around doing nothing, do the get to do that all day, why aren't they sitting on the funky red couch, and how much do they get paid?
  • You mean with all of the billions Microsoft has in the bank they couldn't get John Williams [] to compose the score. I think Vista: The Muscial is going to be a flop on the C# scale.
  • Not to bash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:49AM (#14407527) Journal
    While having actual guitar riffs sounds cool, but as cool as a blaring guitar might sound anything that's not melodic will soon begin to sound very annoying after a few hundred repetitions.

    I've gone through a lot of sound schemes, and while the initial concept is cool most of them get really redundant and annoying after awhile. Also, one of the nicest things about KDE is the ability to set the 'theme sounds volume' accordingly, so that at normal they're a dull whisper, and when I turn up to hear my quiet DVD or VOIP conversation my speakers don't blow up at the next exclamation error sound... (hopefully this might be a Vista feature, as well?). Maybe a few nice strums of the guitar for starting or stopping windows will help, but an all-out guitarfest might be a bit overboard.

    Then again, some of the music such as the background during the windows install I found very well indeed... it's just the effects that were a bit annoying.
    • (hopefully this might be a Vista feature, as well?)

      I remember seeing really early screenshots of Vista where you could set separate volumes for each program. (In fact I remember someone posting here asking what good that was and wouldn't it make it more complicated, and remember responding with something very much along the lines as what you said.) I'm hoping that this feature really was intended and will stay as well.
    • Re:Not to bash (Score:5, Informative)

      by NoData ( 9132 ) <> on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:36AM (#14407667)
      While having actual guitar riffs sounds cool, but as cool as a blaring guitar might sound anything that's not melodic will soon begin to sound very annoying after a few hundred repetitions.

      Please watch TFV. This is Fripp. These aren't rockin' "riffs." It's very ambient, very ethereal, very atmospheric.

      But having listened to it, it's also very moody and melancholy. It doesn't make me feel like "Wow, it's big, bright digital world out there!" It's more like, "Blue screens make me sad."
    • by imdx80 ( 842737 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:37AM (#14407670)
      >Maybe a few nice strums of the guitar for starting or stopping windows will help, but an all-out guitarfest might be a bit overboard.

      I've heard that vista is going to ship with lighters to hold up during some of the more poignant effects

  • hmmm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by defiant1 ( 831834 )
    I just lost 25 minutes of my life... can i have them back? What a boring video
    • Obligatory Simpsons quote:
      Hans Moleman to Apu after being locked in the Kwik-e-Mart for 4 minutes: You wasted 4 minutes of my life and I want them back! Oh, I'd probably just waste them anyhow.
  • someone under the age of 40, I'll turn the sounds off, and listen to more of "that electronic racket".
  • by santaliqueur ( 893476 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:58AM (#14407565) Homepage
    Ballmer to Fripp: If you don't compose in the key C#, perhaps this flying chair will help you to B-flat!
  • by Lordie ( 98168 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:58AM (#14407566)
    ...considering the Windows 95 startup sound was created by Brian Eno [], a one-time frequent collaborator with Fripp.
  • by Entropy ( 6967 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:59AM (#14407570)
    That they'll spend on this guy and just record the sounds of broken glass! :D
  • by RickPartin ( 892479 ) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:59AM (#14407571) Homepage
    As long as they don't put out "Vista: The Soundtrack". That would rip a hole in space time... or something equally not good.
  • gimmick on this one.
    • Yes, it's just a gimmick. But, it's a gimmick designed to cooperate with many other gimmicks as a way of keeping a monopoly in power. Sadly, artists like Fripp and Justin Timberlake are being drawn into battles they don't understand, and therefore they don't get to properly choose a side. If only they knew that MS will destroy the industry they love.
  • watching the video, anyone else get flashbacks of the scenes of the future in bill and ted's excellent adventure? i can just see the air guitaring now.
  • Brian Eno (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Centurix ( 249778 )
    Composed the Windows '95 startup sound. I always get this image of him wearing a sparkly cape thinking hard in front of a modular Moog while staring hard at a PC. The image is accentuated by the long hair and bald patch.
  • by stardancer ( 665878 ) <> on Friday January 06, 2006 @04:50AM (#14407707)
    This can also be noted: (from "Microsoft's Steve Ball (better known to many KN readers as member of the League of Crafty Guitarists) was also in attendance and provided some good comments on the significance of sound themes--and Fripp's soundscapes--to the user experience."

    The League of Crafty Guitarists is "the performance wing of Guitar Craft", and Guitar Craft is Robert Fripp's guitar school-thingy. So, the circle is complete.

    Anyway. Now at least we know that the sounds in Vista will be nice. That's good. I'm a little worried though, that perhaps the Blue Screen of Death will become Red and "One More Red Nightmare" is blasted out your speakers every time an error/BSOD occurs!

    What's scarier is the fact that Robert Fripp's soundscape album from 1997 (not his only soundscape album, no) is so aptly titled "The Gates of Paradise"! amazon link []

    And perhaps the song titles of that album can give us a hint as to how Fripp feels about mr. Gates:
    "The Outer Darkness"
    "Abandonment to Divine Providence"
    "In Fear And Trembling Of The Lord"

    I mean, since Microsoft/Gates does rule the universe, or at least one might think that Fripp believes so, we here have a possible explanation to why he agreed to make this Vista "soundtrack"/soundscape/whatever... The other possible explanation is obvious: Fripp likes money.

  • They should use Drive-By Truckers tune "Never Gonna Change"..

    "Ain't Never Gonna Change"
  • let me be the first to say... NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta change my sig sometime soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:17AM (#14407777)
    B. Gates: Hello there, Mr. Fripp.

    R. Fripp: Please, call me Robert.

    B. Gates: Okay, Robert. Call me Bill. I'd like to make you a proposition.

    R. Fripp: Sure, Bill, fire away.

    B. Gates: I'd like you to make a number of various sounds for our latest OS, and in exchange for less work than it would take for you to make one of your many albums, we will hand you this enormous pile of money. How does that sound?

    R. Fripp: That... uh, that actually sounds rather nice.
  • Aww, crap :( (Score:4, Informative)

    by imipak ( 254310 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:21AM (#14407785) Journal
    Speaking as a King Crimson fan of more than 20 years, I'm a bit gutted about this. Apart from anything else, Fripp has shown interesting signs of 'getting it' with regard to copyright and the Pigopolists. See eg. this article on the company he started to buy back his copyrights [], and indeed this previous post on a previous Slashdot article [].
  • I love the sound of the creaky chair in that video - would suit as a backdrop to the BSOD ! - now that's blue. Perhaps Microsoft will make it green and blue, with yellow text ?
  • by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:25AM (#14407795) Homepage
    Give it to me! I'll get ten times the notes in there whatever Robert plays.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @05:30AM (#14407817)
    It's cool and all to have a soundtrack, but what about start-up lyrics? "Wooooo.... Windows has started! Yeahaahhhhhh! owww!" "Come on! break it down!" - and then it blue screens.
  • As someone who disables all Windows sounds, desktop themes, screensavers and other junk the second they get a new computer with Windows on, this is probably going to sound trash but:

    I spent £200 on an operating system so they can waste the money spending god-knows-how-much to get some guitarist I've never heard of to create some Windows theme sounds? Granted, the current Windows sounds have reached a sort of notoriety in that I can tell the version of Windows from 50 feet by it's boot up and clicking
  • Brilliant, I can picture the scene now. I shut down windows only to be greeted by a 35 minute piece incorporating 13 minutes of silence (interrupted by the occasional triangle, or burst of bassoon) and incorporating works by Holst playe on the mellotron.

    I think it would be more appropriate for there to be some King Crimson inspired wallpaper []
  • RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So now you'll not only get sued by the BSA for using a copied Windows, but also by the RIAA ?
  • I prefer this one:

    Armydark2.wav []

    Unfortunately, PETA stepped in and protested.
  • by grolschie ( 610666 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @06:26AM (#14407930)
    Or how about using the geddup noise []?
  • Warezed? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by coolnicks ( 865625 )
    I wonder if they will use warezed software to record it again? l?tid=133&tid=201&tid=109&tid=1 []
  • Good to know that sounds are covered in the next Windows version. This rendition of tada.wav goes out to you, Microsoft!

    Actually, I don't have Windows anymore, so Sosumi.aiff will have to do.

  • Should be used for their speech startup sound
  • That deleting all media files is not part of everyones cleanup after installing Windows?
  • by justins ( 80659 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:05AM (#14408553) Homepage Journal
    People might have heard Fripp or Crimson music in a Gilette commercial, on The Maxx cartoon on Liquid Television, or in some porn movie that stole the music. (Fripp sued them to get royalties) With regards to the commercial, I know he said something to the effect of "Why not? I use their razors, and people will get to hear something a lot better than the music they ordinarily use in those things. And I can use the money."

    As a Fripp fan who will probably end up using Vista at some point I'm cautiously optimistic about this. I'm also skeptical that the little noises an OS makes can have any musical quality whatsoever.
  • by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:17AM (#14408625) Homepage Journal
    We should consider ourselves lucky: I hear negotiations with Justin Timberlake for the creation of the Microsoft sounds broke down.

    "Vista, I feel for you..."

  • by TwistedSpring ( 594284 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:02PM (#14409913) Homepage
    I wouldn't care if Microsoft had Jimmi Hendrix doing their startup sound, let alone Fripp. I have never been able to tolerate any of the Windows startup sounds for more than a few weeks. Every Windows startup sound has an air of grandeur that does not befit an operating system. Every time my computer boots it yells "I AM WONDERFUL" at me, rather than "I am ready" or "welcome", right back from "TA-DAAAAAA" in Windows 3.1. Every time it starts up my OS feels the need to tell me how impressive it is. Every time it starts up, I know that its air of self satisfaction is misplaced. Douglas Adams predicted this.

    Why are Microsoft getting old prog rockers to make their startup sounds? I watched the video and they're all so full of horse shit. I would like to personally inform Microsoft that an operating system should not be an experience, and it certainly should not aim to be one. An OS should generally work so well that the user doesn't even think about it. Talk to any Windows user, and ask them what their experience of Windows is. They'll tell you that it's a bastard when Windows search doesn't find stuff you know is there, they'll tell you that it's annoying when autorun won't remember to take no action on CDs that contain one jpeg, or when popups appear asking you whether you want to run ActiveX controls, or that it's slow to start up, or whatever. They probably won't list anything good about it, and you know why that is? It's because they use it every day, and bad things carry so much more weight than good things.

    So, when Microsoft considers what its OS should sound like they should remember one thing: if the user notices the sounds, they're crap. If the user even remembers the sounds easily, they're crap. A six second sample on boot is an exceptionally bad idea.

    I'm not a Mac zealot, but they've got it right. Turn it on, and it goes 'bong', and that's it. 'Bong' says it all. It says 'I've turned on, I'm booting, and everything is cool.' It's a simple, reassuring noise. Microsoft's equivalent is 'wooowooowooowoooziiininininintiwiwiwiddlewiddlewi ddlewoo', which is too long, slightly sinister, and suggests an air of flakyness, a slightly misplaced attempt to sound impressive. It's certainly not a sound that conveys solidarity or reliability. It suggests that the OS is crap, but we've given it a really impressive boot sound in the hope you won't notice.

    This post has turned out rather long and rambling, especially since it's about something as simple as a windows boot noise, but I'll finish off with some points for Microsoft to follow when considering their Windows Vista soundscape:

    1. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
    2. Boot/shutdown sound no longer than 2 seconds, informational/alert sounds no longer than a second.
    3. When you talk about confident sounds for Windows, please don't try to make Windows Vista sound like it is confident, but try to give me, the user, a feeling of confidence. Reassure me.
    4. Don't hire old prog rockers. They have spent too long trying to be noticed and trying to sound impressive. You can use them for the sound that plays at the start of your keynotes, but not the sound that plays whenever I turn on my computer.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham