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The Floppotron recruits backup for its cover of “Seven Nation Army”

The Floppotron: Seven Nation Army (Screenshot: YouTube)

The Floppotron must want something from the human race. Its mission never seems to be complete. Has it gained sentience yet? If so, are its intentions benign or malignant? Humanity waits and wonders. For those new to this extraordinary machine, the Floppotron is a “computer hardware orchestra” created by Polish programmer Pawel “Silent” Zadrożniak. Strictly speaking, it is a bank of disk drives and scanners capable of replicating popular melodies through a series of meticulously timed buzzes and clicks. It is an embodiment of the idea that anything that can be controlled can be turned into art. Fittingly, the Floppotron has long entranced the internet with its prowess, and its musical exploits have been duly recorded in this very publication before. But still, the thing was not quite satisfied. It hungered for more.

And now the Floppotron turns its artificial attention to an eerie, foreboding cover of “Seven Nation Army,” the 2003 White Stripes track that continues to be a staple of sporting events everywhere. The Jack White composition, an international hit single from Elephant, has also been a popular subject for cover versions, with everyone from The Flaming Lips to Metallica taking a crack at it. But it’s safe to say there’s never been a remake quite like this one:

Whatever troubling implications this may raise, the Floppotron has enlisted backup this time around. Perhaps the device, having gained self-awareness, is forming a seven-nation army of its own. The disk drives blink and chirp away like always, but this time, there is additional percussion provided by other household objects, including a shower curtain and the door of a washing machine. Panes of glass are broken in accordance with the wishes of the Floppotron. For now, human hands are necessary to make all this work. A few are even seen in this very video. But eventually, the Floppotron will be calling the shots. When a Maximum Overdrive-type worst-case scenario occurs, this version of “Seven Nation Army” will make an excellent battle anthem for the machines.


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