Music video by James Houston created with old computer hardware

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Music video created with old computer hardware by James Houston

Dezeen Music Project: Glasgow filmmaker James Houston created all the music in this video using pieces of outdated computer equipment, including several floppy disk drives and a Sega Mega Drive games console. 

Filmed in an empty swimming pool, Houston's video features musician Julian Corrie surrounded by old computers, games consoles and television monitors, which he uses as musical instruments.

Polybius music video by James Houston

The song, which was performed and recorded live, starts off with sounds generated by floppy disk drives, before drums and bass produced by a Sega Mega Drive and a melody created on a Commodore 64 home computer kick in.

Polybius music video by James Houston

"There's something nice about old technology," Houston told Dezeen. "The objects are simple, easy to fix and they don't spy on you. Conceptually, the video is supposed to be a sort of funeral for all of our forgotten friends, giving them one last chance to sing."

Polybius music video by James Houston

Corrie controlled the sounds live with a guitar and keyboard via MIDI, a standard technology used to create music digitally.

The sounds of the disk drives were picked up by microphones and amplified, while the music produced by the Sega Mega Drive and Commodore 64, which required basic modifications to respond to the MIDI controls, was played directly through television speakers.

Polybius music video by James Houston

The video is a more sophisticated follow-up to a student film by Houston called Big Ideas (below), in which he used similar equipment to create a basic cover of a song by Radiohead.

"I heard that a London advertising agency planned to recreate Big Ideas and I wasn't happy about it," Houston explained. "There wasn't much I could do to stop them, so my only defence was to create a new video and beat their version."

"I wanted to take the concept further and control the instruments live by a musician. The performance was important - everything was controlled by Julian Corrie and what you see is what you hear."

Polybius music video by James Houston