Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rock out to a 56k modem's warble at the Museum of Endangered Sounds

Those born in the halcyon days of the 1980s (or even before) will recall, in the deepest recesses of their memories, the sound that their first favorite electronic device made. Whether it was a toy Speak & Spell or a Dot Matrix printer, the sounds that each dutifully produced remain a deeply integrated part of its former owner's subconscious.

Yet as these gadgets age and disappear, the sounds that they produced become at risk of being forgotten as they're replaced with newer, quieter technology. Enter, The Museum of Endangered Sounds; a digital depository for the shrill warbles, chirping midis, and howling shrieks of your favorite electronic devices from yesteryear.

Similar to how the chiptune musical genre seeks to preserve (and innovate with) the chirps and beeps of 8-bit entertainment systems, the MoES seeks to preserve the iconic sounds of some of the first computers, cell phones, and gaming systems all on a simple, navigable, and - best of all - free website.

The interface on the Museum's website is rather slick. Click on a thumbnail to play the associated sound, click it again to stop it. If you prefer, you can click on multiple thumbnails and let them play continuously as you compose some impromptu industrial music in your browser window.

If you're really lucky, the end result might even sound a little something like this...

Fun fact: the warble noise that a modem makes when connecting is called a handshake.