Published Apr 08, 2014Meet the Z-Machines, a robotic band constructed by a team of University of Tokyo students in 2013. The band consists of the usual setup: a 78-fingered guitarist, a 22-armed drummer and a keyboardist who performs with lasers.
Upon completion of the project, the team asked a number of artists to program music for the robots to play; Squarepusher (a.k.a. Tom Jenkinson) was among them. Jenkinson initially only recorded one track, "Sad Robot Goes Funny," but enjoyed the experience so much that it spawned a five-track EP, aptly titled Music For Robots.
While the finished product is conceptually intriguing and robotically mind-blowing, it ultimately ends up being musically obnoxious. The jazz scribblings of "World Three" are impossible to get a foothold on, while "Dissolver," despite being one of the more coherent tracks, still sends the listener down a dizzying wormhole.
It's easy to see where Squarepusher is going with this project: if you're given access to an outlet where the restrictions of human capabilities are removed, then why not push it to its boundaries? Yet, even though the EP features some guitar work that would make Eddie Van Halen's jaw drop, it's too inaccessible to enjoy as anything more than an interesting idea. (Warp)