Feeds

Bletchley's Colossus makes beautiful music

Code-cracking kit sings for 'Electronica' composition

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Bletchley Park's National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has hooked up with "chip artist" Pixelh8, aka Matthew Applegate (pictured below), for a most unusual project - a musical composition in which the "instruments" are the museum's collection of vintage hardware.

Matthew ApplegateThe work, entitled Obsolete?, features samples of over 20 venerable machines, including the Atari 800XL, Amstrad CPC464, BBC Micro, ICL Line Printer and, of course, the Colossus MK2 Rebuild. In case you're wondering just how you wrest music from such kit, there's a preview here. The beginning of the piece features a major input from Colossus, according to TNMOC.

In creating Obsolete?, classically-trained Matthew first turned his ear to TNMOC's wide selection of available equipment, before making his final instrumental choice. He said: “In composing the piece, I looked into the history of the machines and the amazing history of The National Museum of Computing building – a wartime codebreaking centre where people worked in secret applying their amazing intellects to defeat Hitler. So the composition has a tremendous emotional depth as well as reflecting cryptography, mathematics and our technological heritage right up to the present day.”

Of all his orchestra, it was Colossus which appears to have most inspired the musician. He explained: “One morning, as I passed Colossus, a huge machine that could only fit in the largest of trucks, it was making a different sound. It usually has a set rhythm and a set sound, but that day it was running a different algorithm and some of the panels for the relays had been removed, and the sound was very different. I quickly set up my recording equipment and was delighted with the new sounds that I captured.”

Obsolete?, which is funded by the PRS Foundation, will premiere at Bletchley Park on 20 and 21 March. Tickets for the performances are available here. There's more on the creation process at Pixelh8's website here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.