We Do This So You Don’t Have To / Teaching Julian Assange How To Swim

 ‘We Do This So You Don’t Have To’ and ‘Teaching Julian Assange How To Swim’ are 2 pieces for an ensemble of 8 floppy disk drives. For a few years now, videos of groups of floppy disk drives playing music (often arrangements of TV/movie themes or popular songs) have been circulating online – using some simple software and a few bits of hardware, it is possible to control the speed at which the stepper motor in the drives runs which makes it possible for the drives to play different pitches, using the data from MIDI files. However, no music had ever been written specifically for the drives before; every year at the PLUG Festival at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, all the composers at the Conservatoire are asked to write a specific type of piece (previous examples include sequenzas, etudes, lieder), which are then premiered during the festival. This year, as composer/artist Alexander Horowitz had assembled an array of these drives for playing music, it was decided that this year the department would write for the ‘Glasgow Floppies’. 9 new pieces were written and premiered during the festival, turning the obsolete drives into musical instruments in their own right.

8 floppy disk drives

Glasgow, 27th – 30th April 2013

For the ‘Glasgow Floppies‘ installation by Alexander Horowitz, featured in PLUG 2013 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 2nd-4th May 2013

Demo/sketch of ‘We Do This So You Don’t Have To’