Behind The Scenes With Squarepusher’s Music Robots


This video, embedded below, takes a behind the scenes look at Squarepusher’s music robots, the Z-Machines, which are featured on his latest EP. 

For me there has always been something fascinating about the encounter of the unfamiliar with the familiar”, notes Squarepusher. “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.”

The Robots:

  • MACH -Robot guitarist challenging the speed of over BPM1000
  • ASHURA -Robot drummer that can play the most complex rhythm on 22 drums
  • COSMO -Robot keyboard player resembling a future life form

Here’s a video of the Z-Machines performing Sad Robot Goes Funny:

More info on Squarepusher’s Music For Robots is available at the Warp site.

10 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes With Squarepusher’s Music Robots

  1. This sounds somewhat amazing – but is there a reason why it has to look so f***ing stupid? The instruments themselves are inventive and feats of engineering… with giant power rangers glued on top.

    Still, cool!

  2. This does sound more like Conlon Nancarrow than anything else, once they get past the initial tweedling. It seems like more of a colorful vanity project than a musical knockout. I think the last half might even be interesting, if it was slowed down to about 100 bpm. 😛 I guess I’m a bit hazy on doing this with actual robots when any sequencer can yield the same results and then some, but then, I’m also not wowed by models of Big Ben made of toothpicks.

  3. This is more progressive than progressive rock! Considering most electronic music is composing and programming these days, this is electronic music. Jazzy song structure. Although, can they make a robot to play slide guitar?

  4. This video really shows off the amazing engineering these guys have done to create these robots. It’s pretty incredible really and looks like a nightmare to fix if there is a problem lol. Someone commented about how they look but I don’t think it’s too important considering the stuff they can play. Having Squarepusher on board to create the music seems like a match made in heaven given the speed they can play at. The EP wasn’t what I expected, but in a good way. “Dissolver”, the track playing near the end of this video is one of my new favourite Squarepusher tracks! Great video!

  5. Like sequencing? Huh? The engineering to get to an playing acoustic instruments from the sequenced stuff is far, far beyond the capabilities of any mere laptop musician. It is a huge engineering feat to build a real-time system for moving all those motors around with such low latency and precision.

    The programming for this was almost certainly not generic MIDI that any fool with a keyboard could have programmed. In any case, it’s more like Djent than techno. The difficulty of playing the sequenced stuff is a bit beyond the capabilities of a good guitarist; rather than being a simple 4/4 sequence that could have been played live by most competent musicians anyway.

  6. always enjoyed his music and this idea is interesting but why personify these things?….take a cue from survival research labs.

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