Abusing old hardware to make music
February 19, 2014 12:17 PM   Subscribe

MIDIDesaster plays music using an old dot matrix printer.

Some highlights:
posted by brundlefly (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I love this so much. There are few things as enjoyable as everyday objects being made into instruments.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:20 PM on February 19, 2014

Clearly we have to get a yellowed old 24 pin together with 3.5" and 5.25" floppies and send them out on tour.

With lots of isopropyl alcohol and J cloths.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:37 PM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's called "Yakety Sax".
posted by humboldt32 at 12:41 PM on February 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

These need to be mounted in a car and harmonized with a musical road.
posted by planetesimal at 12:53 PM on February 19, 2014

It says a lot about the power of nostalgia that the sound of a jacked-up dot matrix printer can fill me with longing.

It's called "Yakety Sax".

I was so afraid before I clicked the link that there was some, lesser known, not "Yakety Sax" Benny Hill theme that this was going to turn out to be and was really relieved there wasn't.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:25 PM on February 19, 2014

Bah maybe I am old but it was way cool when companies put it IN their product! I remember doing this in a Lab and thinking WOW how did they get that past QA (I looked at the QA Team we had at the time and proceeded to write one into the next release of our software)
posted by mrgroweler at 1:43 PM on February 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

an old dot matrix printer

"The time will come when nobody will dare to casually omit our names anymore. I am AEG Olympia NP 80-24, and I hold my head high."
posted by hat_eater at 1:54 PM on February 19, 2014

At the end of the benny hill video there's a shot of the tiny LCD screen flashing "CARRIER ERROR" and blinking lights, that is the only way that the printer can express the enormous pain that it is in. "Please stop, I was not meant for this torment"
posted by Ferreous at 2:06 PM on February 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

I like how it prints something like the waveform of the sounds.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:07 PM on February 19, 2014

That sounds so much better than disk drives.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:17 PM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by kcds at 2:28 PM on February 19, 2014

This story would do well to include mention of Paul Slocum (of Tree Wave), who, in 2003-ish had an amazing Dot Matrix Synth instrument on display. When accompanied by a cassette tape / walkman mellotron assembly, it made some of the most hauntingly beautiful music I've ever heard (here's a direct link to a short .mp3 sample of what I mean, and another page with some other info and examples).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:39 PM on February 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Another endorsement for Paul Slocum and his Dot Matrix Synth, which I licensed from him to put into the BBS Documentary as the title music.
posted by jscott at 4:50 PM on February 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

I saw Man or Astro-Man back when they were touring in support of the album that had "A Simple Text File" on it (linked to by sparklestone). After they performed the song (with an already-dated Apple Imagewriter ][ printer), I managed to grab the paper that it was printed on. I still have the paper somewhere and seeing it fills me with pride at having out-jumped and out-reached the other pasty, unathletic astro-nerds to snag it off of the floor first.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 4:52 PM on February 19, 2014

This stuff's older than that. At merry old Reed College, in the early 70's, an enterprising proto-hacker wrote an app in assembler that provoked the school's IBM 1130 to play monophonic melodies through an FM radio atop the CPU. He called it MUTRAN.

We didn't mess with the line printer, though -- that thing was as big as a washing machine.
posted by tspae at 8:05 PM on February 19, 2014

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