Robots Rock: Meet Techno Roboticist Moritz Simon Geist

The producer who builds techno robots premieres new track “G#” ahead of SXSW.  

Robots and electronic music have a long and storied history together.

From Kraftwerk’s legendary 1978 album The Man-Machine and its signature single “The Robots,” through Daft Punk’s monolithic iconography, robots and the humans who struggle to control them have been a recurring theme for decades.

For Germany’s Moritz Simon Geist, the magic is in the marriage of robots programmed to perform his steely techno tunes. After years of experimentation, Geist continues to perfect his fleet of DIY man-made music-manifesting machines.

For many, SXSW 2019 will be an introduction to Geist’s singular vision when he performs at FLOODfest. In honor of his first trip to the annual celebration of music discovery, the artist has crafted his new EP, Speculative Machine, specifically for the occasion.

“The EP Speculative Machine continues my work on robotics and music,” Gesit explained. “I am building music machines which could lead to a future development of using more robotics in arts and music. As on my debut album, Robotic Electronic Music, the sounds on this new EP are created entirely with self-built DIY music machines.”

The EP will be released March 8 on Geist’s label—SRR—via Kompakt Distribution. It was produced by Düsselforfian electronic music legends Mouse on Mars, who also worked on Robotic Electronic Music.

Geist takes pride in being  the world’s only techno producer playing entirely with his self-made futuristic robots. Here, he premieres a new track from the Speculative Machine EP, “G#,” ahead of his SXSW performances.

“The track is inspired by Terry Riley, a classic composer, and you can hear a lot of my music robots: a robotic kalimba, an automated marimba, and a lot of robotic percussion,” he shared about the track. “I even managed to automate the piano tone that is constantly hammering in the beginning and throughout the track. I put all the instruments layer over layer, so the track has a pretty mellow vibe to it. It’s one of my favorite tracks.” Listen to “G#” below.

Speculative Machine consists of four tracks I initially made for my last album,” Geist shared about the new music. “They were fitting quite well together, but somehow three of them did not fit on the record. So when we discussed SXSW, I thought it would be a good idea to make this special edition EP. I listened to the tracks again after half a year, and they were perfect. In the meantime, my friend Strapontin from Brussels had finished a remix, which also fit very well.”

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When queried about SXSW, Geist’s excitement to share his creations with America is palpable.

SXSW is also a big thing here in Europe, and it’s been on my list for a long time. Also, it is the first time that I will get to showcase material from my latest record in the US, which makes me super happy. Apart from that, I’ve never been in Texas before, so I’m really looking forward to Austin’s favorite food.

“I want the audience to see something they have never seen before,” the artist added. “They can grasp a moment of the futuristic vision I am working on, which is the extension of musical possibilities with robots, but in the context of electronic music.”

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