Maybe it’s because we’ve been lamenting the possible loss of the non-self-driving car as a music listening pod, or just because I have spent lots of time outdoors of late — or maybe it’s because we all just have so much information and noise coming at us these days, but whatever the reason, I am entranced by the idea of the “world’s quietest room.”
The room, in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Orfield Labs, is so quiet that clapping your hands sounds weird, because you hear almost zero reflected sound. All you hear is the sound of two hands clapping, to put a twist on the popular zen koan. It’s “anechoic,” which means it is against producing echoes, which is why Guinness Book of World Records anointed this room the “world’s quietest place.”
Documentary filmmaker Sam Green, pictured above with his microphone in said room, reported on the room at a Pop-Up Magazine event a couple of weeks ago at San Francisco Symphony Hall. Evolver.fm tracked him down, and he helped clear up a rumor we’d heard that not only was this room the quietest, but that Prince used to intern there:
“In my talk, I mentioned that the building that Orfield Labs is in is an illustrious place,” responded Green. “Years ago, there was a recording studio there, and in addition to being the place where ‘Funkytown’ and ‘Blood on the Tracks’ were recorded, Prince was an intern there. Steve Orfield told me that. In addition, he said that many years later, Prince had tried to buy the building, but the owner refused to sell. So it’s not quite accurate to say that Prince was an intern at Orfield Labs.”
Yes, but it is accurate to say that Prince once interned at all, which is pretty amazing on its own — and that he interned in the same building that now houses the world’s quietest place.