Making your cell phone a force for good

Recently, a Dutchman standing on the beach near Bono’s villa on the French Riviera heard unfamiliar music blaring — so he hit RECORD on his cell phone. Turns out it was songs from U2’s much-anticipated upcoming release, and within days they were all over the Web. If not for a willingness to share his find, the man could have had the world’s most exclusive ring tone.

If an original (and musically rich) ring tone is what you’re looking for, then the German-born UK resident Max Richter’s 24 Postcards in Full Colour awaits your call. Available (starting 9/23 in North America) on CD as well as MP3, the fleetingly gorgeous compositions — performed by string quartet and piano — are meant to be played every time your mobile goes off. In roughly 60 seconds, the pieces evoke destinations all around the globe (with titles like “Berlin by Overnight”) — and some of the more atmospheric moments can make it sound like Brian Eno’s ringing you up during a quick layover in Reykjavik. Richter may have achieved the nearly impossible: doing away with the annoying cell-phone call.

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Making your cell phone a force for good