There is a great tradition of visual artists using “found” objects to create new masterpieces, be they sculpture, collage, or mixed media. Musicians, too, have mixed a variety of elements into new compositions—bird songs, environmental noise, samples of other recordings. Now, someone who goes by the name Clown Staples has created a song using only the very basic Sound Recorder that comes pre-installed with Windows and the collection of generic sounds that play when users perform certain actions on their Windows computers. You can watch a Flash animation of Clown playing the tune: Windows Noises. (hat tip: Robin Good)
While I’m not crazy about the song itself, I admire Staples’s decision to limit himself to a rudimentary tool and a discrete sound source—a great example of how limits can actually foster creative expression. It reminds me of Edna St. Vincent Millay, who chose to write many of her poems in sonnet form long after the rise of free verse, or Richard Wilbur, who is still churning out verse with complex rhyme schemes and rigid meter. Maybe, at least when it comes to art, there is such a thing as too much freedom.