Windows 96: A Music Review


Cara Macedonio (Cyberwitch), Contributing Writer

As you grew, how much technology did you see sprout and expire in front of you? If a dream could be made into music, what might that sound like?

Enter Windows 96, a Xerox of a Xerox that paints over the blemishes of your past with love.

From film scores to jazz, and video game OSTs to EBM – no language or words are needed. Anyone can feel the noises and the beats, if they let themselves transcend their mother tongue.

One of the gems I found thanks to the YouTube algorithm, 96’s wordless albums reveal a minds eye born into cassettes and CD ROMS, and the biggest concern was who was going to be home for the holidays. I could cry if I stay here too long. Bliss and mourning. It all seems to end faster than I’m ready to leave. If there are voices, they are distorted bleeding whispers. Unintelligible.

All sorts of bites are used like clips from cartoons, synth from a vague 80’s soundtrack you know you’ve heard but you can’t quite place it. Xylophones from the ’50s. Some sounds I recognize from playing my Yamaha keyboard. Plenty of drum machines.

‘Deep Swim’, the first track on the Enchanted Instrumentals and Whispers record is a slow burn, a dreamy dip that could lead to death, a weighted blanket. I need some sort of heartbeat otherwise I cease to feel alive. This first song knows what it’s doing by pulling you in. Do you like the feeling of drowning?

The song ‘Inwite’ on the album Empty Hiding World brings me to white walls, primary colors, and a pizza party. Huge dark rocks and long green streaks from laser tag. I’ve done well up until now to repress that blasted birthday cake that tasted thick and heavy and frosted with acrylic paint. Not all of our memories are made with real sugar. But consider yourself lucky if that soulless saccharine cake being at every single kid’s party was the biggest problem.

The records meld yet stand apart, such as an AI morphing a mosaic of my home movies and the backrooms and blurry prints of other’s childhoods, swirling back into me. Not every patterned rug is created equal. I no longer remember which memories are my own. I see grainy and softer films I watched, but they’re not my memories. They’re my memories and I remember them, but I didn’t live that life in that film, although I lived a life that remembers watching that film. But I wasn’t in that film. I lived through the film.

You’re smaller now. The television is made up of red, blue, and green lines, and the static makes your hair fly up. There are perhaps too many plush animals on your bed and your parents still tuck you in. But also, you could be driving down a long street with warm air and palm trees. You could be holding a corded phone. Teasing your hair. You could be in a nightclub, dancing, with shoulder pads. Working in the city in a cubicle office with a blue suit. Sesame Street reruns might have still been on cable television. Maybe you think of plants and trees but without acoustic instruments. Or maybe you see something not based in reality whatsoever. Green and black code, big robots and blurry cities. The retro-future that the ’50s thought would have happened, that the ’80s thought would happen. What reality does Windows 96 create with you?

But an American perspective from a child’s head is not the one that made this music. So, when I was 5 in ’98, what did he experience in his language? What kind of computer did he have? Does the music he creates make him happy or sad?

If these 4/4 songs can bring back life at Fun 4 All and unlock the false waxy sweetness of cheap cake masking the taste of things to come, I’d consider Windows 96 on the whole to be a success. Muy bien.

It may take a second to recall that the operating system Windows 95 is the one in our current timeline. Windows 96 never existed. The artist does not have their own page on Wikipedia. Even the name ‘Windows 96’ is pressing on a life before the world wide web that seemed prosperous while pouring water your younger years, lush and melting, the evolution of technology given a rhythmic voice.

96 has pushed past the world of my parents, but still saying “thanks for the meal” on the way out. He harmonized the best idealism of two decades in a way people couldn’t hope to do without the arts. Younger kids will find this artist and think this is what it was like, while their grandparents tell them this is what it could have been.

You could study to this music, you could smoke some funny things to it, and you could play this for a friend as you two sit on the floor. That’s beautiful.

But this would be for anyone that puts on rose-colored glasses and can take them off after your fill.

When I need to pay all the corners of my life a visit and view them logically as it was and will ever be but with a fresh layer of gratitude, this is the artist I summon.

I’d recommend this for a wide range of experiences – for getting comfy, for moving your body somehow instead of talking, or even for writing a review.

Windows 96 (aka Gabriel Eduardo) is on Spotify, Instagram, Discord, and SoundCloud.Website ( webpage is an archaic walkthrough that most folks in CS and IT would be happy to update.

 For you, it’ll be a fun click-along into an early PC setup, proving how dedicated people are to breathing new life into an old vision.

Honorable track mentions (3 from almost each album):Visions I, Rituals, Bliss;Hello Earth, Hypnosis, Golden Triangle;Reason Why, Continuing, The Fool;Who’s Counting the Days, You’re Perfect, 240p;Not Anymore, Peninsula, Mytikas.Music artists in a similar vein: Pilotredsun, Machine Girl, Con Truise, Macintosh Plus, Aphex Twin, Graham Kartna.