Way back in the ’90s, I downloaded a program called SoundRaider, one of the niftiest sound-related software programs I’d ever seen. What it did was to scan your hard disk for .wav files and play them, randomly stretching or compressing pitch and duration. The sound of your computer muttering to itself, as a review once put it, if I remember correctly.

I just happened to find via Google (a little scary, actually), a description of SoundRaider which I posted on the Coil mailing list back then:

Laser beams in outer space… frogs croaking… doors creaking… modems going haywire… the infernal buzzing of insects… rusting industrial machinery… the rush of ocean waves… howling dogs… aerosol cans going “pfft”… clacking typewriters… the moaning of subterranean monsters… drifting shortwave radio stations… power drills and electric saws… video game arcades… humming refrigerators… Just now I very briefly heard the sound of a strangled throat gasping for air (going “kh-kh-kh”), but now it’s gone.

Alas, the (now freeware) version you can download from the one I used to own (and even paid for!) before I lost it in my hard drive crash. In the old version you could mute certain channels and let certain sounds loop, or specify the file directory (if for instance you only wanted to hear combinations of selected sounds, and not the entire computer). This new version — unless it doesn’t work with XP, which is what I have — needs to run on top of all the windows, making it impossible to do other things and listen at the same time.

In any case, do check it out; I guarantee a nice dark ambient industrial experience (though the old version was way better than this one — if anyone has it, maybe you can send it my way?).

[Update, 9/11: I did finally find an older version of SoundRaider, one with all the trimmings I mentioned — but unfortunately it kept crashing on XP. It was, after all, made for Windows 95/98.]