Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Releasing albums on long outdated formats has gone from novelty to trendy, with cassettes being the latest so-called “dead” format to make a comeback. That said, there are still old formats out there that have yet to be mined, and one that almost 100% of people everywhere (especially the ones that used them) never expected to see revived is the lowly floppy disk. It’s true that it’s not an audio format, but that hasn’t stopped Hamburg-based Remute from releasing his latest record that way.
Remute claims his new album, Limited, is the first hybrid vinyl/7-inch/floppy-disk techno record and he’s probably right. As he puts it, “The concept behind it is to reduce data, ideas and file sizes to their absolute minimum in order to cope with limited and forgotten technologies like the floppy disk—and to make fun, kicking and pretty raw-sounding tracks out of these limitations. The floppy disk format is something I’m using extensively at the moment—even when DJing in a club! The tunes I generated with this special method aren’t minimal techno in the classic sense of the genre; they’re limited techno.”
There’s no mention on the exact setup he’s using to actually use the floppies, but he does mention an old Commodore C64 he got when he was young in an article he wrote about the project.
The big problem with using floppies is the fact that they don’t hold much data. As he puts it, “the 1.44 MB provided on one aren’t even enough to save a contemporary digital album cover. But it was enough to save five or six average .mod files created with tracker music programs, which generate music in real time and therefore save a lot of memory.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that even though we’ve seen big comebacks by vinyl and cassettes (and even 8-tracks for half a second), floppy disks aren’t going to make a comeback any time soon. They barely work for electronic music with no vocals, and for sure you’ll have a hard time finding a drive and the accompanying software to even get them to mount. Nice promotional story though.