We’re all familiar with the bleeps, bloops, buzzes and hums made by our computers and other technological machinery. They provide an inadvertent soundtrack to our days, and some sounds, like the unmistakable screeching of a dial-up connection being initiated, can instantly plunge us into a deep state of nostalgia for a simpler time and place. Though we may not typically think of them this way, our electronics offer a meditative orchestra set to the rhythm of our digital lives. So is it any surprise musicians have found inspiration in these sounds and attempted to assemble them into an actual piece of music?
YouTube user bd594 has designed and assembled a so-called Computer Symphony built from old computer parts. Older computers were much noisier than they are today, and thus more ripe for music making. The song of choice is the widely-covered folk song made famous by The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun.”
Indeed, there is something folksy about taking old computer parts and making them ring with music, as if bd594 was some kind of old school tech troubadour of the digital frontier.
Here’s a list of the ‘instruments’ he used to craft the music:
a. HP Scanjet 3P, Adaptec SCSI card and a computer powered by Ubuntu v9.10 OS as the Vocals. (hey, the scanner is old)
b. Atari 800XL with an EiCO Oscilloscope as the Organ
c. Texas instrument Ti-99/4A with a Tektronix Oscilloscope as the Guitar
d. Hard-drive powered by a PiC16F84A microcontroller as the bass drum and cymbal
This isn’t the first time he has covered a classic song using old computers. Check out his “Bohemian Rhapsody” remix, featured below.