Those of us old enough to remember floppy drives may have fond memories of single / double density, 1.44 MB and the sweet sounds of read/write – almost as ubiquitous as sound of dial-up. But we’ve moved on to more sophisticated technology…or have we?
A few people are defying the times, using Arduino microcontrollers to unearth the musical secrets buried beneath their cold, hard exterior: A new renaissance of floppy music is born. And if you’re a technophile like me, it’s a sweet sound indeed. Without further ado, below are my top picks for Greatest Floppy Music of All Time:
5. Doom theme on eight floppy drives
The theme from the opening level of Doom is faithfully reproduced using eight floppy drives (MrSolidSnake745 happens to be a prolific floppy composer). The technical sections really show off the agility of the drives (if only they read my Word documents that fast). As the legendary FPS was originally distributed on 3.5″ media, this is a solid opening track to the greatest hits.
4. Derezzed on five floppy drives
Just as the title states, this is Daft Punk’s Derezzed (from the movie TRON: Legacy) played on five floppies. The chiptune, electro-loving DJ robots would be proud of this one, with the floppies really bringing out the character of the original. Just one question: What is this strange looking futuristic screen doing in the background; I want my CRT.
3. Floppy music DUO – Imperial march
Sure, it may only use 2 floppy drives, but that’s really all it needs. The voicing is brilliant, capturing the spirit of the Star Wars Imperial March without a hitch. If it still sounds a bit sparse to you, try out the 8 floppy arrangement. However, I like the simplicity of this more.
2. Super Mario Floppy
Like the floppies producing it, straight out of the 8-bit era comes the famous tune from the game with the famous plumber, Super Mario Bros. This particular rendition only uses 3 (or 4?) floppy drives, and I can’t help but feel that I should have an NES controller in my hands as I listen to this great rendition.
1. Phantom of the Floppera
In what aptly should be named “Floppata and Fugue”, this is the single greatest floppy composition ever produced; a bona fide arrangement of the Toccata from Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue. Amazingly, like a skilled organist, the floppies convey a great sense of range, timing, and dare I say musicality (I even hear some dynamics in there). Not only does the Phantom make an appearance, but it combines both old-school 5.25″ drives and 3.5″ drives still in the tower. Top pick goes to “Phantom of the Floppera”.
Bonus Track: Queen Bohemian Rhapsody Old School Computer Remix
Combining an 8″ floppy drive with a whole host of (old / broken / cheap) tech including scanners, a hard drive, SCSI card, tape drive and oscilloscopes, this Toronto music producer has reproduced the famous rock song by Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, all on a tight budget using technology available around the same era as the original. Sure, the timing may be off a little at times, but it’s all there and sounds great; a superb accomplishment any techie should be proud of.
Bonus Track: Floppy Trepak (from the Nutcracker)
For those wanting a (big) head start on the holidays, here’s a great rendition of Floppy Trepak (Russian Dance from the Nutcracker); sure to tickle your heart as you bask in the warmth of your overclocked PC and the soft glow of your LCD screen.