Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rekengeluiden van PASCAL - The Oldest Dutch Computer Music Recording [1962]

Artist: Rekengeluiden van PASCAL
Title: The Oldest Dutch Computer Music Recording
Genre: Digital Noise, Chiptune
Country: Netherlands
Release date: 1962

An extremely interesting artifact of the era when all computers were large. It probably isn't the first example of computer-generated music, but surely one of the most relevant to my blog. A detailed description of it, along with a download link, can be found in the Irrlicht Project blog (an awesome resource for anyone interested in demoscene and code art, by the way):

"After a somewhat sluggish start the computer revolution is getting into full swing in the Netherlands. At the Natuurkundig Laboratorium in Eindhoven, Philips just completed their second computer, the Philips Akelig Snelle Calculator (Philips Frighteningly Fast Calculator), or short PASCAL.

The head of the NatLab at the time, a certain W. Nijenhuis, had the idea of installing a small amplifier and loudspeaker on the PASCAL, which would pick up radio frequency interference generated by the machine. Unsurprisingly, the usual course of events unfolds: While actually intended for diagnostic purposes, people quickly discovered that they could abuse the speaker to make simple music. But Mr Nijenhuis, rather than scolding his staff for the waste of precious calculation time, actually decides to record those rekengeluiden (computing noises) on a 45 rpm vinyl..."

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