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Sounding out technology.
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Japanese Train Sounds

The culture-link repository BoingBoing.net today referenced (here) a pair of websites that host audio files of the sweet, blissfully robotic music that plays in Japanese railways (here and here). Shortly thereafter, a journalist wrote in to direct BoingBoing readers to a three-minute NPR report he had done on the sounds (site here, RealAudio stream here) in September 2003. According to the broadcast, a Japan railway spokesman explained “the idea is to alleviate the kind of commuter anxiety that drives passengers to jam themselves into already crowded trains.” Reportedly, the sound of iron bells in a Zen temple inspired some of the earliest of these synthesized melodies.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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