• Chris Nicely

Offbeat: Director Gives Old Game Consoles New Voice

PolybiusGLASGOW, Scotland - In the bottom of a drained Victorian pool, tucked between tea lights and scattered flowers, a hacked floppy drive buzzes out a robotic rhythm.

Director James Houston's latest video, Polybius (video below) features musician Julian Corrie among a sprawling and chaotic orchestra composed of old electronic gadgetry—a SEGA Mega Drive console, two Commodore 64's, GameBoys, old CRT televisions, floppy drives, printers, and more.

Corrie's guitar is linked to a MIDI controller that actuates the sounds from the antiquated devices in clicks, beeps and hums, forming the rhythm and melody with eeriely familiar sounds.

"Except for Julian's voice, everything you hear is coming from a vintage console or computer peripheral," says Houston in a Wired magazine interview. "Emotion is easily manipulated via nostalgia. And the emotional impact is stronger if the devices seem as though they're trying to prove themselves."

Houston is no stranger to making music with the help of obsolete or repurposed devices. His student film, Big Ideas: Don't Get Any, featuring a similar setup of repurposed gear set to a Radiohead song, was a YouTube hit, with more than 850,000 views. 


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