Floppy Totaal 2.0 – A review
Hosted for the second time, after an overwhelming success of the first edition, Floppy Totaal takes place in Worm, Rotterdam, on Friday the 19th of June 2015. Floppy and diskette enthusiasts from all over the world come together to share their passion for the square-on-the-outside-round-on-the-inside medium.
A medium that has opened up vast terrains of creativity for the artistically privileged. Back in the day, by giving computer users, musicians, video-photographers and other designers a medium that could hold more data than they had ever dreamt of. Easy to be shared and transported, for a reasonable price and re-usable. In modern times, the floppy still conquers the hearts of the creatives. This time however, the capacity of the medium releases creativity in a whole new way. By the tsunamis of data in our cloud-web-stream-free-storage-driven-what-is-the-wifi-password-can-I-charge-my-phone-here-world, the quality of creativity has hit a new Kanye-low as people have simply drowned in all the things that can-should-could be done. While some creative minds take a challenge out of filtering the bits and pieces, the floppy simply sets the limits and all artistic energy can be used to focus on filling the floppy.
Then again, using the floppy has its down sides too: long loading times and unreliability as it is a magnetic medium. But once more this is just a tool for creating new perspectives on how you can spend your time in quality. Why listen to a fully filled-out auto-tune 34-channel sampled hip hop production while you can find your own enchantment in the echo and vibrations in the sound of a loading floppy drive?
Besides that, there is way more music to discover and host Niek is happily welcoming all to share an evening of joy on the floppy. The program is a little changed as Michael Ridge had some personal matters (word has spread he got his floppy jammed in the private parts of a disco jet, but our host is discrete so I can’t confirm any of that).
During the day a video workshop, led by Florian Cramer, has taken place and the participants are happy to share the results with the audience. The attention span is tested, as well as eyes and ears. Videos are directly played back from diskette; the sound of loading delicately enhanced with reverb. An impressive piece of work is the video of a fragment of a Bollywood song. Both video and sound for nearly 3 minutes!! The necessary pixel decrease creates a whole new experience, yet it is still possible to see the vivid dance moves.
Connection problems with Thailand are delaying the Toxic Chicken performance, so Neil Jennings (UK), CEO of floppy label Diskette Etikette Records, takes over and treats the audience on a listening session of a compilation floppy: ‘Now That’s What I Call Retro-Futurism Vol. 4’.
It is especially made for Floppy Totaal and contains 8 tracks divided over 2 720 kB floppies. I’ll refrain from repeating Neil’s commenting on the tracks and strongly encourage you to receive a copy!
It seems the technical team of Floppy Totaal has succeeded solving the connection problems as the sound engineer has attracted the Toxic Chicken flu. His face is pale and toxic, his eyes have dilated and at the top of his head a cockscomb has grown!
It appears to be a very aggressive disease that not only transfers from man-machine-man but also is highly contagious. Within minutes the whole audience has caught the naughty disease.
Fortunately, nobody feels bad and Toxic Chicken tunes in for his performance. Accompanied by two furry dogs, this migrated artist shows how deep his love for the floppy goes. The contaminated audience is hypnotized by the visual and audio spectacle, live from Bangkok.
Twirling floppies, dancing floppy koppies, chickens, dogs, everybody dances to the floppy love. Floppy is GOD and the message is clear. Finding a new purpose for the diskette as a modern guillotine to behead the members of the Dutch monarchy and other tax collecting authorities. The connection is closed after a very last spin, coming down from the floppy mania Toxic Chicken Bangkok Style. The audience loves it and sends their love once more over the bidirectional intercommunication lines.
While the audience comes down from the euphoria, Irrlicht Project introduces 1-bit music to the audience. All music performed would easily fit a floppy but cannot be easily played back as it needs the hardware the bits are written for. Thus, a very informative and energetic performance takes place. Some songs being accompanied by carefully placed grunts and growls, others just speak for themselves. One impressive piece is a dedication to a 1-bit software routine programmer who passed away last year, Ján Deák. He managed to fit (the illusion of) 16 channels of sound for 1-bit music in one sound routine (engine). Irrlicht Projects tribute song using this engine is impressive.
Personally, I have heard the songs quite some times and I am astonished, nearly shocked, to actually hear all the high and low tones and noises, beautifully set apart in the spectrum of sounds. I had never heard the music that well and many songs get a new dimension. Big props to the Worm sound system and the sound engineers!!
Irrlicht project closes the live performances and Niek thanks all the participants for once more realising a successful Floppy Totaal. Next doors, the merch table is open for looking at, and buying, the newest releases.
Many people gather and lucky floppy enthusiasts get their share of beautiful little productions with colorful labels and covers.
Everything handmade with love and dedication; some true artistic work any hipster would envy. Eat your heart out mr. West, thํs is the real deal!
With an entertaining and diverse set, Back To The Fucking Future closes the festival in the bar. After many beers and some delicious food I close my eyes and dream of Floppy Totaal 3.0. Hope to see you there next time! Either on stage or in the audience 🙂
(YIKIS would like to say big thanks to the floppy reporter; Linda for the awesome floppy festival report above & all-telling photo’s by Linda & Florian Cramer’s floppy camera… Thanks a Ton!)