For his upcoming album, Tom Jenkinson — AKA Squarepusher — will be collaborating with all-robot band the Z-Machines.
(Credit: Warp Records)
It seems Compressorhead has some hot competition. For his upcoming EP, Music for Robots, due to be released on 7 April, Squarepusher has engaged the musical help of Japanese three-piece all-robot band the Z-Machines.
Or rather, the Z-Machines' musical producer Kenjiro Matuso engaged Squarepusher. In 2013, Matsuo and his team assembled the band, with the aim of creating machines that could perform in ways no human could. Several artists were invited to compose for the band — which includes a 78-fingered guitarist (like Compressorhead's hydraulic guitarist, Fingers) and a 22-armed drummer.
"In this project the main question I've tried to answer is 'can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?'," Squarepusher said. "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."
There are five tracks on the EP, with a music video for the actually rather impressive single, "Sad Robot Goes Funny". If you preorder now through Bleep and iTunes, you can grab the single early.
Now we just need to see a Compressorhead/Z-Machines epic rock battle. Or collaboration. We don't mind which.