Florence-based Leonardo Barbadoro – formerly Koolmorf Widesen – is an Italian musician, producer, engineer and composer set to release his single ‘Bomi’ on the 22nd of September via Helical Records. The track is the first release from the highly-anticipated Musica Automata, an LP of orchestral music performed entirely by robots. The project and concept was launched in 2018 with a crowdfunding campaign, which successfully funded the album’s production, culminating in a live performance of the installation at Tomorrowland festival in Belgium in 2019. This campaign received mainstream attention from publications such as Red Bull, Vice, RaiNews, and CNN Indonesia. Showing no signs of slowing down, the track has already premiered and received support from electronicgroove.
‘Bomi’ is a truly experimental sonic feast – a tasty appetizer for what is to come from Musica Automatica. A vast array of orchestral instruments, both conventional and unconventional, create layers and textures rooted in acoustic sound sources that resonate in natural spaces – an interesting exploration, given that the music is composed for an orchestra of automated instruments controlled entirely by digital impulses. There is a melange of pipe organs, piano and bells playing a motif while other melodic instruments make playful runs around it. A seemingly straightforward rhythm held by castanets and delicate tambourines ground the song’s busy melodic components. Programmed to perform without human touch, the music is meticulously engineered to add subtle ‘human’ nuances to the robotic performance. The accompanying video showcases the sheer amount of musical and technological elements at play – each one meticulously programmed to create what will no doubt be an unprecedented experimental odyssey that will push the parameters of what we understand about technology and sound.
On the album as a whole, Barbadoro commented: “Musica Automata represents a turning point in my compositional and instrumental research. It is music that brings together two dimensions often perceived as incompatible, even antithetical: the boundless expressive possibilities of electronics implemented by an acoustic instrumental body in a sensory reality, beating, vibrating, and blowing”.