Squarepusher x Z-Machines: Music for Robots EP (Warp) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Squarepusher x Z-Machines

Music for Robots EP

Warp

Apr 17, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, has always been caught between his gifted touch as a composer and his compulsion for spectacle. The former leads to the vast swathes of essential Squarepusher found on Feed Me Weird Things and Selection Sixteenmelodic, virtuosic drum and bass that work like aural science fiction movies. The latter leads to things like indulgent hour-long bass solos and this record with Z Machines, a music-performing system composed of three robots, "beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced musicians," according to the press release. Squarepusher wrote the music to be performed by the robots, programmed by Kenjiro Matsuo.

While that sounds fascinating on paper, let's stop for a second and think about this: how on Earthwith the current capabilities of synthesized sound and multi-track recording techniquescan the results of this experiment produce anything truly novel? Nothing on Music for Robots sounds humanly impossible. In fact, the whole thing is sort of stuck in a rangeall staccato note stabs like a high-tech harpsichord. The music sure sounds like Squarepusher, though, which is to say: it is good. It's just not as good as what the man can do with his regular gear. Which is to say: what's the point? (www.squarepusher.net)

Author rating: 4/10

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