Vintage computers play electronica


Vintage computers play electronica

Cliff Saran

Musician Pixelh8, aka Matthew Applegate, is performing a concert next week at Bletchley Park, using the sounds emitted from vintage computers at the The National Museum of Computing (TNMC).

Matthew Applegate/Pixelh8 will be performing his new Electronica composition Obsolete? at Bletchley Park on 20 and 21 March 2009.

Pixelh8 assessed the sounds of scores of vintage computers at TNMOC. Applegate's final "instrument" selection includes Colossus, the world's first electronic programmable computer, the Elliott 803, a 4kb memory workhorse from the 1960s, a 1970s card punch machine and a trio of games machines from the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking to Computer Weekly earlier today, he said, "Each computer room has a unique sound. There was so much there that could be expressed musically."

For instance, before be began the project he said he had no idea an IBM 290 punchcard reader was musical. He also found the Brunsviga adding machine was particularly good at rhythm. "Just by turning the dial you can change the rhythm. So next week, each performance will have a slightly different rhythm."

Pixelh8 is funded by the Performing Rights Society Foundation.

Computers Pixelh8 uses in composing Obsolete? include:

Elliot 803

Colossus MK2 Rebuild

Dragon 32

BBC Micro



Atari 800XL

Amstrad CPC464

IBM 029 Key Punch

Brunsviga Adding Machine

Bulmers Adding Machine

Block & Anderson Adding Machine

Crete Teleprinter

ICL Line Printer

PDP 11


380Z Research Machine

RM Nimbus Power

MAC 5500/275


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