Robotic Electronic Music


Moritz Simon Geist, media artist and robotic musician, publishes his first record, Robotic Electronic Music. It is the world's first techno record played entirely by self-made futuristic robots. All of the sounds on his records are played by robots: small motors that beat on metal, futuristic 3D-printed robo-kalimbas, salvaged parts from old hard drives that click and cut. It took Geist several years to build, tweak, test and play all his DIY robotic instruments. His Sonic Robots push the boundaries of the imaginable, as in 2012 with his well-known oversized 808 robot, an iconic drum machine filled with robotic parts which play the instruments live. Now, Geist goes further to discover the unknown and futuristic world of techno robotics. For this quest, he teamed up with Mouse On Mars and dug into the history of mechanical music and experiments of early electronic music. On Robotic Electronic Music, Geist extends the futuristic approach to music making he introduced in his first EP. The opener "Entropy" appeared on his EP, a bassy club-track, played by robotic kalimbas, a psychedelic pattern of tonal glasses and pneumatic hi-hat patterns. Geist: "When you listen to robots playing, you realize, that they sound precise, but in contrast to digital sounds they transport an immense organic feeling. No beat is like the other, everything is played with actual acoustic physicality and thus actual error. At the same time, the repetitive nature of the robots make them perfect for playing electronic music; it's industrial and organic at the same time." On "The DNA of Drumming", Geist took several tuned drums and let robotic actuators play rhythms, combining everything to a reduced slow stomper that slowly moves in a hypnotic manner. "In G# (Katze läuft über Klavier)" is a direct reference to Terry Riley's "In C"; the song starts with a robot hammering on prepared piano strings, being slowly filled with robotic marimbas, glasses, robotic shakers, Moritz's own inventions, and mechanic relay synthesizer, which plays notes and melodies with mechanic tongues. It's the warmest song on the album and the only one featuring stronger melodic movements. What Geist came up with is a stunning record of what is possible today - to explore the sound of mechanics that keeps on filling our world. Geist creates a smashing soundtrack for both the precise automation and physical fragility that shapes today's society.