Big Ideas (Don’t get any) from 1030 on Vimeo.

In case you haven’t seen this, James Houston has produced a short film in which an assortment of old computer gear “plays” Radiohead’s “Nude.” We’ve seen various bicycle parts and such performing music around here, but not the actual components of computers in this way. James features:

Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array – Act as a collection of bad speakers – Vocals & FX

He explains:

I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn’t sound great, as it’s not supposed to.

Sorry, James. You’ve failed thoroughly. It sounds fantastic.

Not only that, but I think it’s quite a nice reminder that even in regards to technology, sometimes sounding bad or primitive is wonderful. Yorke’s songwriting prowess comes out even as the music is translated to an entirely different arrangement. It’s humbling to hear — it means that, technology or no, being able to write great ideas sure helps. And it strips away some of the justification for having the latest and greatest soft synths, erm, not that it’ll stop us any time soon.

By the way, I hadn’t heard that Thom Yorke thought it was impossible to do remixes in 6/8. Come on, really? Okay, maybe for people whose heart beats four on the floor…

Time to dig into my equipment closet and see what will make sound. Peace out.