A real historical museum, only instead of containing tools and instruments, it contains sounds. We’re talking about Obsolete Sounds, a website born from an offshoot of the Cities and Memory project, which in turn was born with the aim of preserving the sounds of the world. The result is one collection of over 150 soundsall just a click away, which we can rarely hear in 2022.
They range from the keystrokes of the PowerBook Duo, Apple’s range of laptops launched in 1992, to the unmistakable sound of the modem 56k trying to connect to the internet. A sound that, if you discovered the internet after 2005, you will hardly remember.
“In the 90s, computers screamed every time you went online. That was an omen,” the description reads. Yes, because every sound is accompanied by some information. So that even the youngest or future generations can understand the context. After all, it is a museum.
The museum of forgotten sounds: Obsolete Sounds
Other sounds that you might have the curiosity to go and listen to are the historical one Nokia 5120 ringtonethe hum of a vecchio hard-disk Seagatean old woman analogue radio being tuned. And if you are a fan of mechanical keyboards, rush to listen to the keys beating on an old man Apple iBook Duo 230 or on the iconic Olivetti typewriters. Good news also for fans of retro video games with sounds from Astro Wars, Pac-Man and the Nintendo NES console.
For each sound Cities and Memory offers remixes of the same created by various artists and producers who have joined the project.
“Obsolete Sounds is designed to draw attention to disappearing soundscapes, to highlight those sounds that are worth preserving because they are part of our collective cultural heritage, and to help us think about ways to save them before it’s too late,” he declared Stuart Fowkesfounder of Cities and Memory.
Obsolete Sounds can be visited at this link.
Throughout the history of electronic music there have been many artists who have recorded and used similar sounds to create entire records. Sounds of the office, for example, is an album by Michael Siegel recorded in 1963, which includes entirely office sounds: typewriters, calculator keys, telephones ringing and much more.
In more recent times the legendary artist Alva Notostage name of Carsten Nicolai and founder of the Raster-Noton label, is recognized for having often implemented office sounds within his productions.