This cover of Toto’s “Africa” by 64 floppy disk drives is the best thing you’ll hear all day
Stop everything and click on the video below. Honestly, it’s the best thing you will do today.
Okay, fine, a little more context: it’s a version of the power ballad classic Africa by Toto.
You want more? Okay, it’s a version of the power ballad classic Africa by Toto played on something called the Floppotron.
Did I mention the Floppotron is a custom-made musical instrument comprising of 64 floppy disk drives, eight hard disks and two scanners? I probably should have led with that with hindsight.
How is this witchcraft possible? Well, while much of the credit belongs with the songwriting brilliance of David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, the particularly charming rendition is made possible by the motors on the Floppotron running at different speeds, producing different sound frequencies. Painstakingly coding the order they perform at results in the magic you’re listening to right now.
The Floppotron’s creator Paweł Zadrożniak puts it this way:
“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.”
You can read a longer explanation on Zadrożniak’s website, but most people probably don’t need to know how the sausage gets made – just that it’s absolutely delicious. Here’s another few samples from the sausage smörgåsbord:
Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t want the Bee Gees stuck in your head all day? Fine, try this:
Hmmm. It doesn’t have the ability to crack glass like the original, but it’s not without its charms.
They don’t have the Floppotron in Westeros. More’s the pity.
Finally: a classier way to Rick Roll somebody.
You can listen to more classics improved/butchered on Zadrożniak’s YouTube channel.