4:45:26
December 9, 2015 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Barbiephonic, an audio experiment from mhoye
Of the six attempts [to listen to the whole file] I’m aware of, four were called off when the death threats started, one due to the near-breakup of the couple making the attempt, and one person drinking themselves to unconsciousness at about the 90 minute mark. I’m not saying that to make a joke. I’m telling you because this is real and it’s an SCP-grade psychic biohazard. No highly esteemed deed was committed here; this is not a place of honour.
posted by frimble (57 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
TOO MANY ABBYS!!! [smashes laptop]
posted by not_on_display at 9:57 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paulstretch here I come!
posted by boo_radley at 10:00 PM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


It says too many people have downloaded it and I can't...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 PM on December 9, 2015


Anybody have a good tool for breaking spoken audio into phonemes?
posted by Going To Maine at 10:02 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, looks like “Adonai” is one of the names? Why does God need a Barbie? Was it some kind of insurance?
posted by Going To Maine at 10:12 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "It says too many people have downloaded it and I can't..."

Consider that a blessing.
posted by schmod at 10:21 PM on December 9, 2015


This sounds good, but it ain't working with my iphone.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:27 PM on December 9, 2015


The Most Unwanted Song. It's 22 minutes and I defy anyone to listen to the whole thing. (I haven't made it all the way.)

Wikipedia:
"The Most Unwanted Song" is a song created by artists Komar and Melamid and composer Dave Soldier in 1997. The song was designed to incorporate lyrical and musical elements that were annoying to most people. These elements included bagpipes, cowboy music, an opera singer rapping, and a children's choir that urged listeners to go shopping at Wal-Mart.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:47 PM on December 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


Firefox says: "Whoops! There was a problem playing this audio file."

Which I suppose sounds accurate.
posted by figurant at 10:59 PM on December 9, 2015


Sorry, you can't view or download this file at this time.

Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently. Please try accessing the file again later. If the file you are trying to access is particularly large or is shared with many people, it may take up to 24 hours to be able to view or download the file. If you still can't access a file after 24 hours, contact your domain administrator.
D=
What else was I gonna do with the rest of my night? Sleep?!
posted by carsonb at 10:59 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


For those of you who are getting the "Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently." error and don't want to take that as a warning, the universe trying to save you from a close call, the alternate (dropbox) download link should likely work regardless.
posted by frimble at 11:05 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


You just know this is going to be used to torture people someday and do you really want that on your conscience? Delete all traces now.
posted by zachlipton at 11:07 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why isn't anyone thinking about the voice actress? Did it drive her insane to say all those things?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:34 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


If only this could be hacked into Fallout 4 for the player's Mr. Handy voicebox. "Good Morning, Abigail!"
posted by BungaDunga at 11:35 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sorry, you can't view or download this file at this time. Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently.

Either this is a fascinating artistic commentary where access to popular media is restricted just for the fact of its own popularity, demonstrating the fickle nature of the mass listening public, or a phenomenally unhelpful policy for a file storage site to have.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed they have Abdul and other non-White names in there.

Also that Barbie pronounces my name better than most people.
posted by divabat at 12:10 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm going to save myself quite a lot of time and mental anguish and go with something more seasonally appropriate.
posted by sparkletone at 12:24 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
posted by Devonian at 2:43 AM on December 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


Also, looks like “Adonai” is one of the names?

Hippies perhaps, or possibly some syncretic religion (think Rastafarianism, one of the Black Hebrew sects, or some new-age crystal sect)?
posted by acb at 3:12 AM on December 10, 2015


Dude was pretty good. It was like "DUDE".
posted by psychobum at 3:43 AM on December 10, 2015


I'm not sure which is more annoying...The recording itself or that it's an .ogg file.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:15 AM on December 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Moon unit is in there. Which makes sense.
posted by psychobum at 5:52 AM on December 10, 2015


> a phenomenally unhelpful policy for a file storage site to have

Even if Google is hosting it and even if Google has the most bandwidth of all, their bandwidth isn't infinite. Download throttling on arbitrary files prevents spamming/flooding. Not to mention reducing hassles from the usual intellectual property overlords eager to litigate anybody for being a vehicle for illegal file sharing.
posted by ardgedee at 6:03 AM on December 10, 2015


This wouldn't be the first time that I'm frustrated in an attempt to fuck with my own head.
posted by Splunge at 6:07 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you go to Jamie Zawinski's blog there is an alternative link in the comment section.
posted by mecran01 at 6:07 AM on December 10, 2015


I wonder if the names were generated out of spliced morphemes, Vocaloid-style. And whether that would be more or less work than renting a studio and hiring a crew and voice actress to make legitimate takes of all these names.
posted by ardgedee at 6:09 AM on December 10, 2015


The Dropbox account still works ("Alternate download link" in the OP)
posted by ardgedee at 6:10 AM on December 10, 2015


The Most Unwanted Song yt . It's 22 minutes and I defy anyone to listen to the whole thing. (I haven't made it all the way.)
I assume this must be some sort of reverse psychology advertising strategy. It's inconceivable there are exist human beings who, upon first hearing The Most Unwanted Song, are capable of doing anything other than playing it on repeat for hours and giggling continuously. It's fantastic.

Barbiephonic is also amazing, and filled with potential to turn into even more amazing things. Thanks!

But, I do wonder if the distortion in the recording is in the original source files or is an artifact of the tool used to string them together and encode them. I also wonder what other audio exists from those phone call segments and how to get hold of it. Getting one's hands on the full dump would be really exciting, and really bad for productivity.
posted by eotvos at 6:13 AM on December 10, 2015


Hi, Internet.

The file will play in VLC (desktop or android) once you can get it. I made it in 2007, and .ogg was (almost, possibly, maybe) a thing you'd do then. Certainly it was hard to care about the iPhone at that point.

The Dropbox link included in the article seems a bit more reliable than Google.
posted by mhoye at 6:15 AM on December 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


Either this is a fascinating artistic commentary where access to popular media is restricted just for the fact of its own popularity

Only Martin Shkreli can download Barbiephonic.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:40 AM on December 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Audio like this is why they won't let me buy my own Rock-a-Fire Explosion set. I could clear out entire cities.

Actually, why not think bigger? Modify 100 Teddy Ruxpins with onboard Raspberry Pis so that they can run off of .ogg input and have deafeningly loud speakers. Feed this into 90 of them and have the other 10 run Endless Jingling just for the variety. Drop them over ISIS's territory with multilingual notes tied to them reading WE HAVE MORE OF THESE.

A problem solver. That's me.
posted by delfin at 6:45 AM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Doesn't have my IRL first name.

WHY DOES BARBIE HATE ME?
posted by Devonian at 7:03 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because IRL is kind of a strange first name? Don't take it personal.
posted by OmieWise at 7:28 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I may have to change my name now. :-(
posted by abigailKim at 7:45 AM on December 10, 2015


I'm a fan of the Most Unwanted Song. On the other hand, I've never been able to get through the Most Wanted Song.

Now I'm giggling to myself thinking about the Wittgenstein rap...
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:59 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Drop them over ISIS's territory with multilingual notes tied to them reading WE HAVE MORE OF THESE.

Looking back at the incident a decade later, one of the researchers would shake his head sadly and say, "We were so focused on how to weaponize the Barbiephonic file that it never occurred to us to think about whether we should." He paused, then in a quiet, pained voice, added, "And of course now it's too late. I think about this every single day."
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:04 AM on December 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


> The file will play in VLC (desktop or android)

You can also drag'n'drop it onto Firefox or Chrome to play it. Both have native .ogg support.
posted by ardgedee at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2015


I mean it's usually spelled Earl but
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:29 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know people who, if they knew about this, would set up a PA system inside a barbed-wire stockade, start playing this, and leave.

I'm not telling them about this.
posted by adamrice at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2015


What's up all the Abby versions?

And wow, that's some endless cheerfulness. I randomly forward and stumbled into "Fedora!". Love this.
posted by olya at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2015


What's up all the Abby versions?

You put the kid's name into a web form, and the spelling of the name mapped back to the name of a file on a 1-1 basis, so there was ABBY.wave, ABBIE.wav, ABI.wav, bunch of others.

Cheaper and easier than putting in an intermediate layer to understand and map based on pronunciation, I think.
posted by mhoye at 9:56 AM on December 10, 2015


Mhoye ket me just say from the bottom of my heart - thank you so much for this.

It is GLORIOUS.
posted by Faintdreams at 10:35 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Five minutes in. This is the BEST numbers station. Will report back as progress develops.
posted by mikurski at 11:49 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Kenet Project
posted by Going To Maine at 12:16 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


35 minutes: buffy. Buffy. BUFFY.

The combination of plosives and compression and phonetic satiety is making me think the recitation is going backwards.
posted by mikurski at 12:25 PM on December 10, 2015


52: Colon.

There's a little bit of trivia in the fact that human screams hit a pitch range that doesn't see much common use - the idea being that even when you're old and mostly-deaf, those little hairs in your cochlea will still be around to vibrate when someone gets eaten by a tiger.

I can feel the truth of this, now. It's not a physical irritation... Just the sense that these names have a wearing cadence that will sap my ability to hear until my only experience will be screams.
posted by mikurski at 12:59 PM on December 10, 2015


This is beyond words. I... I feel so strange
posted by naju at 3:23 PM on December 10, 2015


First off, let me say that this is really amazing. I keep skipping around and it's always very unnerving to listen to.

I did some tinkering with the encoding and uploaded the track to YouTube. Enjoy!

Barbiephonic - Say My Name
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 4:19 PM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I managed to get 65 minutes in before my neck started radiating pain. Was this some kind of ritual-hazing thing? Would that have made it worth it?

There's a space in my ears where the names should be.
posted by mikurski at 5:07 PM on December 10, 2015


I warned you.
posted by mhoye at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm about an hour in, sampled in random few-minute chunks while on the bus. Clearly I'm going to have to carve out a five hour hike during which to listen to the whole thing.

First of all - thank you, mhoye! The world is a better place because this exists.

Second, this is a really interesting list of names. The ethnic and linguistic diversity is astonishing, and awesome. But, there are more subtle surprises. First, something like 95% of the names seem to be traditional female or gender-neutral first names. But, another 3% are traditionally male, and another 2% seem to be pure nicknames. e.g., Fernando, Rashied, Joaquin, Timothy, only one Eric, two Isaacs, two Todds, Ira, and Iberto; Honeyball, Honeybun, Honeychild, Honecomb, Je T'aime, Miho, Tinkerbell, and two Snowwhites. There are also an assortment of weirdly specific compounds such as Catherine-Grace, Mindy-Sue, Katy-May, Marina-Rose. Sally-Joe, and two Tammie-Sues. Is Tammie-Sue really that much more likely than Tammie-anything-else?

I'm having a hard time thinking of how you'd build a word list like this, much less one with accurate phonetic pronunciation. I'm no linguist, but I've yet to hear a name I happen to recognize pronounced wrong. It feels really specific and rather well matched to a sample of actual users of a Barbie telephone service. It makes me wonder if the database isn't user-generated in some way. Could it be that they had a voice actress on-call whenever a new name came up and then stored it in the database for future use? That seems crazy and expensive. Or perhaps they had a name list for some specifically chosen population in hand? Re-using the Barby birthday card list? (I have no idea if that's a real thing.) Or is it built from an amazingly comprehensive list of phonemes? It sure sounds a lot more natural than anything similar I've heard. And there are some variations in what - as a non-linguist - I can only describe as exuberance that make it seem like a single actress recording them all individually. (For example, the bits around Terrie are more varied than most.)

An alternative explanation is that female names are far more diverse than male names, and that the world is full of people who give their kids strange nicknames as real names, and I've just never noticed before.

Somewhere, there are people who spent months making this happen. I'd like to ask them about it.

Next time friends mention baby names, I know exactly what to send them.
posted by eotvos at 11:09 PM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "The Most Unwanted Song . It's 22 minutes and I defy anyone to listen to the whole thing. (I haven't made it all the way.)"

What? Seriously? I've listened the whole way through multiple times. It's a great song!
posted by Bugbread at 12:26 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The dropbox link requires a dropbox login, and Condoleeza Rice is on the Board of Directors of dropbox, so that's not happening.

I don't suppose someone could seed a torrent of this?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 7:32 AM on December 11, 2015


The dropbox link requires a dropbox login

It worked for me without logging in.
posted by acb at 8:58 AM on December 11, 2015


The dropbox link requires a dropbox login, and Condoleeza Rice is on the Board of Directors of dropbox, so that's not happening.

The dropbox link is brilliantly designed so that it looks like you need an account, but if you duck around the small print you’ll see that you don’t.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:12 AM on December 11, 2015


Dropbox link worked this time. Perhaps the creeping madness is so powerful it affected me before I even heard the file.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 7:12 AM on December 14, 2015


Hmm, my name's not in there.

I'm with Bugbread - I've listened to the Most Unwanted Song quite a few times! Never on purpose, though - only when it turned up on the radio.
posted by moonmilk at 8:47 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older The U.S. School That Trains Dictators & Death...   |   Ceres gets Salty Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments