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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Robot Jazz MP3 from Pierre Bastien

He’s one of electronica’s great Doctor Moreaus, and there’s an hour-long performance from early 2005 available for download. His name is Pierre Bastien, and he makes automaton orchestras that plink and pound, scratch and hum, like a collective of Pinocchios grasping at the fainest hint of sentience. His recordings may not always pass a Turing test, but they’re immensely enjoyable nonetheless, with all the organ-grinder, steampunk funk of a Kid Koala (think dusty turntables warping old music-hall faves) or Konono No. 1 (think homebrew instruments torquing feedback out of makeshift magnets).

In this extended piece, recorded live, Bastien can be heard playing along with a raspy horn that gets simpler and simpler, rattier and rawer, as time passes (MP3). He enters around 14 minutes in and it comes to feel as if his machines are slowly gaining their humanity as he loses his. Perhaps they’ll meet some day.

More info at the website where the MP3 is housed, transportsciberians.net, and at Bastien’s digital home, pierrebastien.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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