Operating on Operating Systems (MP3s)

What will happen when our computers are always on, or instant on, or so ubiquitous that we think of them less as objects, as accessories, or even garments, and more like soap or aftershave? Will we hang on to vestiges of their earlier days, much as we today add noises to electric cars in the name of comfort, safety, and security? If so, we’ll look back to work like that of Jeff Kolar, whose Start Up/Shut Down is, indeed, made of the noises of computers doing just that. His description is as precise as his working materials:

Start Up/Shut Down is a set of short iterations, remixes, and refinements of Window and Macintosh operating system event sounds. This project features remixed material sourced from Microsoft Windows (3.1, 4.0, NT, 95, 98, Me, XP, Vista, 7, 8) and Macintosh OS (10.0 Cheetah, 10.1 Puma, 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther) operating systems.

He has plumbed the less than recent history of the major two major operating systems for his noises. The result is an abstract play on sounds at once familiar and remote. It’s a bracing listen, and leaves one eagerly awaiting the Linux B-side.

Kolar is one of the people behind the grew Radius podcast and pirate broadcast, a frequent subject of this site’s Downstream department. He corresponded with Disquiet earlier this year about another kind of “start up” sound that serves as the opening theme of the Radius broadcast (see “Entering and Exiting the Electromagnetic Spectrum”).

Both of the set’s tracks are available for free download and streaming at soundcloud.com/jeffkolar and at the netlabel notype.com. More on Kolar at jeffkolar.us.

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