White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" performed on things found in a laboratory

The Blast Lab at Imperial College, London, is a place where scientists study how explosions affect the human skeleton, and try to find ways to mitigate some of those effects. As you can imagine, this involves blowing stuff up fairly regularly and The Blast Lab is a pretty loud place.

But the team of students behind PLoS' Inside Knowledge blog noticed something cool about that. The sounds in The Blast Lab weren't just loud noises, they were loud notes. Edit them together, and you could reproduce a whole song, using nothing but sounds recorded in a working scientific laboratory.

In this video, the Inside Knowledge crew plays The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" on the Imperial College Blast Lab. In case you're curious, here's the breakdown showing what lab equipment the team used to replicate the sound of which instruments.

Bass Guitar: Main sensor output cable
Bass Drum: Blast Rig
Toms: Hammer & Storm Case
Hi-Hat: Oil Spray
Cymbal: Blast Plate
'Vocals': Laces to contain dummy leg during blast
'Guitar': Accelerometer cable & Fastening Strings

Video Link

Submitterated by Ben Good



    1. Nope!

      “Although it sounds like a bass guitar (an instrument the group had never previously used), the sound is actually created by running Jack White’s semi-acoustic guitar (a 1950s style Kay Hollowbody) through a DigiTech Whammy pedal set down an octave.”

  1. SOCA has taken control of this laboratory.

    The individuals behind this talented performance have been arrested for fraud.

  2. Very sceptical – you’re telling me there’s no electric guitar on what we hear? At the very least the sampled sounds have been digitally manipulated to various degrees, haven’t they?

  3. What an ugly sound.

    I think it’s quite clever when this kind of thing is done with doors slamming and other every day sounds… but they’re just replicating instruments – it would sound much better if they used actual instruments, and would likely involve more skill.

    1. it would sound much better if they used actual instruments, and would likely involve more skill.

      That would be the White Stripes’ version. This is something different. A different set of skills, one could almost say.

      1. Are you suggesting Meg White’s drumming involves skill?

        (That’s not an insult–part of the charm of her playing is its Ringo-like lack of polish.)

  4. Well…sort of performed…sounds like they got the base noises then modulated them after the fact to get them into the keys they needed, plus of course sequencing it all out in one studio editor or another. Could be wrong about the keys, but I’ve seen it done cleaner (though not this song), and actually performed (live).

    “Re-Created” would be a better choice of word than “performed”.

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