Microsoft celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Windows 95. But the best part of all of this may be this oddly eerie, beautiful set of ambient tunes, slowing down the best-known Windows branding by 4000%.

This is what Brian Eno sounds like when you Brian Eno-ify Brian Eno.

While we’re at it, it’s worth revisiting some of the startup sounds over the years.

Brian Eno is best known among the startup sound composers, for his contribution to Windows 95. To my mind, it’s the best of the startup sounds. Eno described the brief as “inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental [and] emotional” — and gave Microsoft twice the length they asked for, true to form. Not 4000%, only 200%.

Tom Ozanich and Bill Brown composed Windows XP and the associated sounds (with Emmy winner Ozanich working on orchestral samples. Brown is the composer behind CSI:NY and Any Given Sunday with a long game resume including Wolfenstein.

The legendary Robert Fripp famously contributed to the infamous Windows Vista for a cheery tune for that OS that has stuck with subsequent releases, working alongside Tucker Martine and Steve Ball of Microsoft.

Other sounds were developed in-house. My experience of the audio team at Microsoft over the years with my brief contacts with them has been that they’re musicians like us – and often know their way around a Mac, too. (Apple machines do show up in Microsoft’s offices now and then.)

I certainly want to wish a very happy birthday to Windows, or, erm, to Windows95. (Hey, I used Windows 3.x, too – and made some music on it!)

I never get tired of computers. For all the bitching and moaning – what wondrous machines we have on our desks, that allow us to make sounds we’ve never before imagined, and meet people who love what we love from the other side of the world. (Where’s Louis C.K. when you need him?)

Here’s a wonderful compilation of still more Windows sounds… Ah, the magic of time. All those years of things breaking just fade nicely into nostalgia.

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  • Derp

    Paulstretch.

  • Derp

    Paulstretch.

  • zzoid

    Looks like someone had a shortage of things to shill for today.

    • If I turn it up, I go to my special happy place where there are no trolls….

      With blue skies, and rolling grassy hills, like the backdrop of Windows…

      sweet Windows, you beautiful operating system…

  • zzoid

    Looks like someone had a shortage of things to shill for today.

    • If I turn it up, I go to my special happy place where there are no trolls….

      With blue skies, and rolling grassy hills, like the backdrop of Windows…

      sweet Windows, you beautiful operating system…

  • neurogami

    “Brian Eno is best known for his contribution to Windows 95.”

    Umm … that’s an interesting claim. 🙂

    Anyways, I do recall Eno saying in a few interviews that at some point in his composing career (don’t know if he still does this) he would do some work, think it interesting, then play it at half speed. Which he then liked better.

    Also, from what I recall from numerous coders I’ve met over the years, lots of MSFT devs like working on macs.

    • “Brian Eno is best known among the startup sound composers, for his contribution to Windows 95” is the correct quote.

    • Yeah, I edited that – it didn’t read as I intended. 😉 That said, it is actually almost certainly true, because of the ubiquity of the sound, that it’s his best-known composition!

  • neurogami

    “Brian Eno is best known for his contribution to Windows 95.”

    Umm … that’s an interesting claim. 🙂

    Anyways, I do recall Eno saying in a few interviews that at some point in his composing career (don’t know if he still does this) he would do some work, think it interesting, then play it at half speed. Which he then liked better.

    Also, from what I recall from numerous coders I’ve met over the years, lots of MSFT devs like working on macs.

    • “Brian Eno is best known among the startup sound composers, for his contribution to Windows 95” is the correct quote.

    • Yeah, I edited that – it didn’t read as I intended. 😉 That said, it is actually almost certainly true, because of the ubiquity of the sound, that it’s his best-known composition!

  • Jan Gerhard

    for 4000% its pretty free of artifacts. What program has been used?

    • Ilya Gogolev

      PaulStretch

  • Jan Gerhard

    for 4000% its pretty free of artifacts. What program has been used?

    • Ilya Gogolev

      PaulStretch

  • MikeKSmith

    Been there, done that: https://soundcloud.com/mikeksmith/win95-stretched. I also stretched the heck out of Napalm Death’s seminal “You suffer”. Made it into a 2 minute horror epic. With the right material, Paulstretch makes some really interesting noises… I took Steve Lawson’s track “The Creative (Chi’en)” http://music.stevelawson.net/track/the-creative-chien and stretched it out to an hour. Makes a nice ambient drone. https://soundcloud.com/mikeksmith/the-creative-chien-stretched

  • MikeKSmith

    Been there, done that: https://soundcloud.com/mikeksmith/win95-stretched. I also stretched the heck out of Napalm Death’s seminal “You suffer”. Made it into a 2 minute horror epic. With the right material, Paulstretch makes some really interesting noises… I took Steve Lawson’s track “The Creative (Chi’en)” http://music.stevelawson.net/track/the-creative-chien and stretched it out to an hour. Makes a nice ambient drone. https://soundcloud.com/mikeksmith/the-creative-chien-stretched