snippets of programming

The Birth of a Genre


Few of us realized that Beyonce’s riff at 3’14’’ in ‘Love on Top’ would initiate an entirely new genre of music. Michael Feathers, Chad Fowler, and Vivian Marthell sat in a Soho bar, or actually several Soho bars (connectivity is a wonderful thing), and realized that Beyonce’s slight inflection at the end of a musical phrase was a hint to create the world’s first sublimely rhythmic audiobook of computer programs. At that moment, the artists saw that few programmers had access to a bash [1] script that would list the sorted commit frequencies of Ruby files in a git repository. Knowing that this information could penetrate deeply through the world of music, they heaved the program across the back of distribution services like iTunes, Amazon, 4Chan, Hacker News, and Spotify. They knew that it could achieve viral immortality and become a feverish infection across software teams and dance floors. Programmers would savor each token and each symbol. Dancers could groove to the undulating echoes. With the raps of gentle fingertips everyone could transcribe the program, execute it, and benefit from its sheer power.


They knew, they saw, they committed. Today we are left with the work of hundreds of artists in the spoken word programming genre [2] - many of them see this initial track, ‘Snippets of Programming’, as foundational. It is our privilege to share it with you.


[1] Bourne-again shell

[2] Exhibit 1 - Insight: Analyzing Myspace - Examining Genres (2013), Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.


Snippets of Programming, Episode 1 (1:30)

(written by Fowler & Feathers, Mart Hell Studios)


Michael Feathers: vocals, vim editing, paper clips

Chad Fowler: rechenmaschine

Vivian Marthell: art direction, not so gentle prodding


Recorded at Mart Hell Studios, Miami and Kelly’s Jeanne Emporium, Berlin. Engineer. Chad Fowler.





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