Warp Records announced this week that Squarepusher will be releasing a collaborative EP with robots in April… no, really… robots.
In Music For Robots, Squarepusher is pushing the boundaries between digital and analogue. By joining with a team of Japanese Roboticists lead by Kenjiro Matsuo in 2013, Jon Jenkinson (the man behind Squarepusher) took on a wildly imagined project to “collaborate” with a group of robots on a five-track EP of music he composed.
The robots, known as Z-Machines, perform all the original Squarepusher works on the EP and do so with quite the technological “wow” factor (the robot guitarist has 78 fingers to play with and the robotic drummer has 22 arms). As Jenkinson explains:
“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. ‘”
As the video for the single Sad Robot Gets Funny demonstrates (below), this EP will be a groundbreaking moment in music when it releases April 7 (US date April 8). Preorder on iTunes here, and get an instant download of Sad Robot Gets Funny.