Lauded Icelandic experimental composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, creator of some of my favorite music to blog to, has released a new album that is a tribute to the IBM 1401 Data Processing System, a gigantic punch-card reading computer from the 1960's. The story, as he tells it:
In 1964, a computer – the IBM 1401 Data Processing System – arrived in Iceland, one of the very first computers to be imported into the country. The 1401 has been called the "Model T" of the computer industry – the first affordable, mass produced digital business computer. The chief maintenance engineer for this machine was Jóhann Gunnarsson, my father. A keen musician, he learned of an obscure method of making music on this computer – a purpose for which this business machine was not at all designed.
Jóhann went on to use samples of his father's music along with a sixty-piece orchestra to create IBM 1401, A User's Manual. It's a beautiful album, recommended to anyone who's a fan of contemporary classical, experimental electronic music, or anyone interested in the history of this machine. Check out the album's website for samples, videos, and the full essay about the roots of the album by Mr. Jóhannsson himself.
Album Site [IBM 1401, A User's Manual]