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What Will Windows Vista Sound Like? Ask Robert Fripp

Who said that only Apple does cool things? Steve Jobs may have brilliantly staked out the space around Apple’s iPod as the direct proximity of cool, even going so far as to have a U2 signature model.

But Microsoft recently had King Crimson co-founder Robert Fripp over to Microsoft Studios a few blocks from the company’s Redmond, Wash. campus, to record some sounds that may well end up being the startup music when you boot Windows Vista.

Known in recent years for the evocative, highly-textured musical soundscapes that he creates using his guitar in conjunction with various delays, echo units and other audio processors, Fripp recently spent several hours at the studios, as shown in a video posted by Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble on Microsoft’s online developer site, Channel 9, last week.

Although the video is dark because it was shot in a darkened soundstage not lighted for shooting video, the audio is fine and the tape is an interesting demonstration of Fripp’s creative process – in this case, thinking of the music cinemagraphically.

At one point on the video, Fripp explains that he initially chose the key signature to his ethereal compositions for Windows Vista based on his feelings regarding two colors that were suggested to him – green and blue. “I used my personal musical correlation with those colors to set up virtually all the things we’ve been working on here today,” he said.

Actually, however, Microsofties might argue that they’ve been cool all along. The opening theme for Windows 95 after all was crafted by Fripp’s often collaborator, soundscape artist Brian Eno, who has also produced a half dozen of U2’s albums.

Scoble’s post on Channel 9 describes the video of the recording and composition session as “a little audio preview of what Windows Vista will sound like.”

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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