Tuesday, June 17, 2008

James Houston video.

James Houston, a Glasgow School of Art student has produced this video using some old redundant computer hardware to reproduce a version of Radiohead's 'Nude' album track. His YouTube synopsis is recounted below:

Video by James Houston

Digg this at:
Radiohead held an online contest to remix "Nude" from their album - "In Rainbows" This was quite a difficult task for everybody that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that's played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It's pretty difficult to seamlessly mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from "Nude" thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition to find out how people would approach such a challenging task.

I decided to take the piss a bit, as the contest seemed to be in that spirit.

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) "Big Ideas: Don't get any" I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they're trying their best to do something that they're not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn't sound great, as it's not supposed to.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum - Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer - Drums
HP Scanjet 3c - Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array - Act as a collection of bad speakers - Vocals & FX

Thanks to Afrotech and Dr Roland Shregle (ganjatron)
It looks like James has written a program for the Spectrum to reproduce the guitars via the television speaker; this is what is loading from the cassette tape at the start of the video. The vocals are produced by a Hard Disk Drive speaker which is a collection of HDD head array voice coils wired in series to an audio amp. I assume the feed is either the CD track or a filtered version of the track. I assume the sounds from the printer and scanner are mixed in to produce the finished version.

It is brilliant that James has conceived and constructed this array of hardware to reproduce the track, but then to produce what I consider an excellent video is simply genius.


Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

I may be wrong, but what this video screams out at me is "attention to detail!".

6:31 AM  
Blogger Identity said...

Did you see that flying right over my head!?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Identity said...

Good recycling, though.

1:15 PM  
Blogger La Crabcuracha said...

THat was extremeley cool, although I didn't understand what you having to pee had to do with it?


Otherwise it was really interesting to watch!

6:45 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Identity, I can still see the condensate trails, but yes I'm sure sales of old computer kit on eBay will soar.

Cat, I think you may be talking about James Houston talking about taking the piss, is that correct?
If so, 'taking the piss' is an idiom for having a joke at the expense of someone or something else.
I'm glad you found it interesting!

10:32 AM  
Blogger La Crabcuracha said...

Yep. thats waht it was. I didnt realize it was a quote. thanks!

I put some thing up for you. This vie reminded me of it.

2:45 PM  

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