It’s one of the most nostalgia-inducing sounds of all time: the classic 1990s dial-up modem noise. It was the sound you listened to as you imagined the exciting conversations you were about to have in the LineOne chat rooms, the webpages you’d find with your super-secret AOL keywords, and the Geocities sites you’d create festooned with hilarious “under construction” gifs of workmen with drills.
We don’t hear that noise anymore, and the days of choosing between your (landline) phone and your internet connection are long gone. But app company Touchpress are trying to bring it back – with a vocal rendition of the dial-up noise, as sung by classically-trained singers.
Now, we’re not entirely sure we’d be able to say what the sound was intended to be if we heard it without the setup, but that “weee-ooo” bit is pretty accurate. Touchpress did it by first creating a visualisation of the sound using open-source Sonic Visualiser, then converting it into a score using Sibelius. You can download the score as a PDF here if you want to try singing it yourself – it’s worth a read just for the annotations (“Mouth closed (like a hungry puppy dog)”).
So what’s next for the 90s nostalgia choir? The smacking sound of a strawberry Ring Pop? The relentless bleeping of your hungry Tamagotchi? The sound of a VHS tape rewinding, then snapping because you watched Sister Sister too many times?
On second thoughts, maybe the 90s is best left where it is.