Tuesday, August 4, 2009

symphony #1 for dot matrix printers

In 1999 I chanced upon this mini-CD, “symphony #1 for dot matrix printers,” at the now defunct music store Let It Be, in Minneapolis. 

The mini-CD jacket contains the following regarding the composition:
The Symphony #1 for Dot Matrix Printers is a work which transforms banal office technology into an instrument for musical performance. Employing twelve dot matrix printers, a dozen computers, network hardware and some custom software, the symphony goes beyond the mere sampling of printer noise: it appropriates the entire office environment. The orchestra of printers is networked to a server, the “conductor,” which initiates print commands at precisely calculated times. Through the manipulation of the electronic character set in the form of printable ASCII files, some of which are included on this cd, the bizarre collection of decrepit office machinery is used to create densely textured rhythmic music.

To hear some of this music go to The User. Scroll down to the Quicktime movie to hear some tracks from the original cd. If you can refrain from increasing the size of the Quicktime movie, the file has sufficient resolution to show the print heads, albeit tiny, in action.

Also to be found on the site are some more recent compositions.


1 comment:

  1. This is great! Caitlin, our 18 year old summer worker at Rulon-Miller Books, isn't quite sure what a dot matrix printer is, but she likes it!