Apple I Basic plucked from vintage cassette tape, turned into MP3

They very first piece of commercial Apple software — a primordial flavor of BASIC originally released in 1976 that took thirty seconds to load — has been perfectly and authoritatively extracted from a yellowing audio tape and converted into a 38 second MP3, playable in iTunes. Plucky, hyper-intelligent beardos are now dissecting the file and learning its secrets, but their findings are a bit above my head. You can read them in full at the link below. All I feel worthy of commenting upon is the song itself, which is rather catchy — a Music to Make Love To Your Old Lady By as interpreted by antediluvian 70s cyborgs. 1200 Baud Archeology: Reconstructing Apple BASIC from a Cassette Tape [Pagetable via Crunchgear]
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19 Responses to Apple I Basic plucked from vintage cassette tape, turned into MP3

  1. dculberson says:

    Anon (#9): That was a lot of fun, thanks.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Where? Oh, you mean FreeBSD? otherwise people wouldn’t buy OS X they would download it.

  3. Jerry Kindall says:

    There’s a typo on that tape label. To run it, it’d be E000G, not E000R.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I made a quick and silly remix of this in Ableton Live, because it’s better than doing actual work!

    Hosted on Tindeck ::–Lord-Kook-Remix-


  5. rundgren says:

    1. 2. 3. – Takedown Notice. Methinks Apple doesn’t buy the concept of abandonware.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have they tried running this through the SETI@Home analyzer?

    Dave A.

  7. avraamov says:

    i just played the mp3 and my screen suddenly went monochrome with a single flashing cursor. i had to write a web browser in basic to send this message.

  8. Jarvik7 says:

    Tell that to the free-to-download copies of MacOS on Apple’s ftp site.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I like their old stuff.

  10. k386 says:

    Man! That first change (~17) is bad ass! And just when you start rocking on it, it hits the break down(~27).. yknow that little metally fill , awesome!
    The endings a little weak though.

  11. Brett Burton says:

    Back in the day someone wrote a freeware command line MS-DOS app, called simply “play”. It would play any type of audio file and would convert data files to screaming glitchy blasts of sound. I always thought it would be rad to make music with. Too bad they killed MS-DOS.

  12. technicallyhesright says:

    sounds very much like “luke i am your father”
    only backwards, slowed down, and ran through a compositor
    with extra sprinkles of “ha ha”

    I’ll add this to my collection of binaural beats, see if I get any energy from it.

  13. jahknow says:

    Tim Hecker used this as the beginning of his set at Mutek 2003. Rippin!

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    Listening to that made me thing I was logging on to a phone line BBS again.

    We’re all cracked, aren’t we?

  15. zuzu says:

    Too bad they killed MS-DOS.

    You mean FreeDOS?

  16. stAllio! says:

    if you enjoy the sounds of apple basic I, you should check out databending: the creative misuse of data. a number of electronic musicians have used these types of sounds; i personally released a 12″ record of songs composed entirely of sounds i got from sonifying raw data on my hard drive.

  17. sirspocksalot says:

    @#9 – brilliant!

  18. Kieran O'Neill says:

    *sigh* 1200 baud. I haven’t heard that in years

    Happy days as a youngster loading games into the C64 from tapes that got as long as 5 minutes, some of which had to be turned over and played on the reverse side, too.

    Then we got a disc drive, and it was as big as the entire computer, but man did that make life easier…

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