The Web: Normalizing and Championing OCD

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonEveryone knows the web is a wide and wild and often aggressively weird place. We understand it houses a lot of unsavory things (rule 34 anyone?). But there is also a glass half full viewpoint. The one that celebrates the web as a welcoming home to anyone with a vision, no matter how narrow and long-tail that vision may be…

Consider Brendan Chilcutt. Brendan imagined and created the Museum of Endangered Sounds where bit-by-bit, he is amassing an audio record of earlier times and technologies. He collects and preserves the sounds of rotary telephones, Gameboys and dot matrix printers, sharing them with the world via his charming website,

As he puts it:

“I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it’s a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it’s likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.” 

Indeed Brendan, we do. And thank you for counting me among the audio cognoscenti who recognize the subtle yet unfiltered sound of a vintage JVC VCR. There just might be some future time when I simply must be reminded of the nearly-forgotten sound of the synthesized human voice on a Speak and Spell toy, and I’ll be deeply relieved to know that I have your site bookmarked. A grateful, if largely oblivious nation, thanks you.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

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