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Archives: 2015-08

Windows Startup Sounds (slowed 4000%)

It is twenty years since the birth of Windows 95, released to the world on August 24, 1995. With the widening availability of SoundBlaster sound cards in the mid-90s, the sonic experience of the operating system became a key issue for the first time. Microsoft acknowledged this fact by commissioning Brian Eno to compose a short signature sound for Windows 95. Latterly known as "The Microsoft Sound", the brief was to evoke a utopian sense of optimism and futurism, chiming with Microsoft's vision of Windows 95 as the OS of the future. Eno describes the experience as "like making a tiny little jewel".

In homage, I've made a series of extended edits that hold a microscope up to these jewel-like sounds. Six Windows startup tones, from 95 to Vista, are slowed to 4000% of their original speed, transforming each into an ambient piece of several minutes' duration, and amplifying the internal structures of these iconic, dream-like sounds.

Read more about the sound designers responsible for creating these startup sounds courtesy of Create Digital Music.