Much like the venerable technology of the floppy drive, Europe’s hair metal classic “The Final Countdown” just won’t die. After floating into laughable obscurity, the synth-heavy anthem was reborn when a magician named Gob made it his theme song. Now, hobbyist Paweł Zadrożniak has fed the tune through the hardware harmonics of his “Floppotron.”
We’ve previously shown you Zadrozniak’s wonderful contraption when he used it to play the Star Wars and Game of Thrones theme songs. It consists of 64 floppy drives and eight 8-channel controllers with envelope stimulation. He manipulates the pitch by controlling the speed and voltage of each drive. The hobbyist goes into a little more detail on his site:
Scanners and floppy drives use stepper motors to move the head with sensors which scans the image or performs read/write operations on a magnetic disk. The sound generated by a motor depends on driving speed. The higher the frequency, the greater the pitch. Hard disks use a magnet and a coil to tilt the head. When voltage is supplied for long enough, the head speeds up and hits the bound making the “drum hit” sound.
While the iconic fantasy themes were a nice geeky thematic fit for the Floppotron, “The Final Countdown” and its herky-jerky staccato really does work perfectly with the devices particular brand of musicality.