Mar 2014 10

Squarepusher to release EP performed by robot-band Z-MachinesExperimental electronic act Squarepusher will release the EP Music for Robots on March 25, with music performed by the robot band Z-Machines. Written in MIDI and performed entirely by the machines in Tokyo, Music for Robots will be available in collectible blue translucent vinyl and limited edition Japanese import CD.
“I have long admired the player piano works of Conlon Nanarrow and Gyorgy Ligeti,” says Squarepusher. “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. Each of the robotic devices involved in the performance of this music has its own specification which permits certain possibilities and excludes others – the robot guitar player for example can play much faster than a human ever could, but  there is no amplitude control. In the same way that you do when you write music for a human performer, these attributes have to be  borne in mind – and a particular range of musical possibilities corresponds to those attributes. Consequently, in this project familiar instruments are used in ways which till now have been impossible.”
A demonstration video of the Squarepusher/Z-Machines collaboration, including a 78-string guitar and over 22 drums, is available on YouTube.


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Zak Vaudo (Chaostar)

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