"The Sound of Silence" is a song released by Simon & Garfunkel in 1965. It was written by Simon following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The chart-topping single boosted the duo into the national spotlight and is one of their most popular songs. Now, the track is receiving new life, but not thanks to a dance remix or a contemporary artist covering it.
Rather, a rendition of the song played by computer disk drives is gaining popularity online.
YouTube user "Arganalth" has released a series of videos in which he programs floppy and hard-disk drives to create sounds that mimic songs. Called "disk symphonies" by one viewer, past disk drive covers have included Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and the theme for "Back to the Future."
The latter has received 120,000 views since it was published online two weeks ago. With 18,000 views in its first 24 hours, the YouTube user's latest work is on pace to eclipse that mark.
"The choice of the song can maybe be a little strange because the floppy drive are very noisy, but I had this song stuck in my head since one week so I had to do it," the composer wrote on the video's descriptionThe science behind the piece, at least as viewer Eric Mihalik explains it, seems pretty straightforward.
"The sounds you hear are the disk drive's heads moving back and forth (seeking)," he wrote. "The whole thing is choreographed through a program that can interpret MIDI files."
A quick YouTube search yields not only other "disk symphonies" but also songs created with the noises from old flatbed scanners. A popular one is this 2011 upload of two floppy disks covering the "Imperial March," with more than 5 million views.