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Published on Apr 29, 2012
in 1996 i started exploring the instrumental potential of old computers, not in terms of of bits and bytes, but by attacking the circuit-board. signals are taken directly from the „legs" of the circuitry, the "working - rhythms" of the computer are transposed into the audible range by ringmodulation, paths and changes in the innermost of the machine are made audible. the power supply of the computer is manipulated as well in order to trick the stabilization circuitry into a state of oscillation between powering up and shutting down. during the process of exploration the motherboard is gradually short-circuited by applying salted water with a spoon. because of the irreversible changes resulting from those intrusions and manipulations, it is impossible to produce repeatable results: even a short rehearsal with the chosen computer changes its inner structure to such an extent, that results on stage would be totally different. gathering experiences with the setup in order to gain a repertory of sound-finding strategies helps a lot before going on stage and face an unknown computer. to make the process of try and error easier to follow for the audience, the circuitboard is tracked by a camera and the images are projected on a screen.
the piece is also an example that newer is not always better: due to the extreme degree of integration and miniaturisation in modern computers, the piece would be very difficult and inefficient to perform, the sonic output remains speculative... but applied to the "makro-world" of an old p100 it is possible to to get great results by just wandering across the circuit-board while listening to the computers swan-song. www.hans-w-koch.net