Squarepusher is an artist who has steadfastly retained a viscerally arresting and forward-thinking approach to his live performances.
So when a group of young Japanese roboticists invited him to develop music for a project whereby three robots, together comprising the Z-Machines, would form a music-performing system beyond the capablities of even the most advanced musicians, it was an opportunity too irresistible to ignore.
The resulting Sad Robots Go Funny was composed and produced by Squarepusher and performed by the Z-Machines, with the video directed by Daito Manabe.
Squarepusher and the Japanese team have since reformed, collaborating for a further two months to record the Music For Robots EP. Squarepusher explains the process:
“In this project the main question I’ve tried to answer is ‘can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?’
I have long admired the player piano works of Conlon Nancarrow and Gyorgy Ligeti. Part of the appeal of that music has to do with hearing a familiar instrument being ‘played’ in an unfamiliar fashion. For me there has always been something fascinating about the encounter of the unfamiliar with the familiar. I have long been an advocate of taking fresh approaches to existing instrumentation as much as I am an advocate of trying to develop new instruments, and being able to rethink the way in which, for example, an electric guitar can be used is very exciting.”
01. Remote Amber
02. Sad Robot Goes Funny
03. World Three
05. You Endless
Music For Robots is released on April 7 and can be pre-ordered here