Hear Toto’s ‘Africa’ Performed by Old-Fashioned Computer Equipment
What would Toto's "Africa" sound like played not by musical instruments, but antiquated computer equipment? Now we know the answer to this question, thanks to an ingenious musical instrument called the Floppotron, which is comprised of 64 floppy disc drives, eight hard disks and two optical scanners.
Together, the machines replicate the 1982 hit with mechanical precision (and a surprising amount of warmth). A rather mesmerizing YouTube video shows the equipment clicking and clacking away, working to produce humming tones that resemble tougher-edged MIDI sounds.
You can watch the video above.
According to CNET, the instrument is the creation of Paweł Zadrożniak, and its unique sounds are derived from "motors running at different speeds." On his website, Zadrożniak elaborates on how it works:
"Every device with an electric motor is able to generate a sound. Scanners and floppy drives use stepper motors to move the head with sensors which scans the image or performs read/write operations on a magnetic disk. The sound generated by a motor depends on driving speed. The higher the frequency, the greater the pitch.
Hard disks use a magnet and a coil to tilt the head. When voltage is supplied for long enough, the head speeds up and hits the bound making the 'drum hit' sound. The disk head coil can also be used as a speaker to play tones or even music, but… that would be too easy and too obvious."
"Africa" is just the tip of the iceberg on his YouTube channel. There are Floppotron versions of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky," Starship's "We Build This City" and Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart." And, in a possible nod to the unexpected death of Dolores O'Riordan, the Floppotron's newest composition is the Cranberries' "Zombie." You can check out some of them below.
Yes, 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' (Floppotron Version)
Metallica, 'Enter Sandman' (Floppotron Version)
AC/DC, 'Highway to Hell' (Floppotron Version)
The Cranberries, 'Zombie' (Floppotron Version)