Intel 386 DX, 4 MB RAM, 40 MB hard disk, creative soundblaster 16bit, Windows 3.1, text-to-speech and MIDI software
Although on the surface the music of 386 DX is undeniably humorous, the project uncovers a series of deeper questions about the complexities of authorship in the digital age. 386 DX was invented and developed by Alexei Shulgin in 1998. The “band” has “performed” over 40 concerts in various locations throughout Europe and the United States, and also “plays” in public spaces as a street musician. Who, exactly, is 386 DX? 386 DX is a computer, built by a hardware manufacturer, who plays songs written by famous groups, using software created by a third party company. So to what extent can Shulgin claim ownership of 386 DX? Does this project make him a musician or merely a technician? Is there a difference? Based on the evidence, it seems that Shulgin prefers to keep things ambiguous. He lists himself in the liner notes as “Operator” and includes software on the CD which allows the user to create more 386 DX songs on his/her own. Anarchy in the UK and Smells Like Teen Spirit come from The Best of 386 DX, a collection of timeless covers of everyone from Bob Marley and the Wailers to The Who to The Kinks to John Lennon. The songs are just so plain absurd that they are sure to bring a smile to even the surliest of faces.