Album: QBIK – Robots Cry Too (Patpong 2010)

The idea of artificial intelligence developing emotions is one that has been heavily explored in Science Fiction – from I, Robot all the way to misery guts Marvin in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Romanian recluse Qbik’s idea is that it is a two way thing. As robots become more like us, we become more like them. Just cogs in the machine, victims of what he calls “the petrifying of the heart by the system”. It’s an interesting theory, although I don’t buy his solution that the way to salvation is through God. That’s just another human construct, and one that has throughout history led to just as much oppression and stifling of humanity’s individualism as technological advances are ever likely to. In ant society, aberrations in behaviour are dealt with swiftly and fatally. This is not due to any reasoning, but simply because the collective intelligence of the group requires rigid behaviour patterns for it to survive, otherwise it breaks down completely. The parallels with the way that religions deal with heretics and apostates are clear.

Anyway, I’m not here to argue with his philosophy. Robots Cry Too is an attempt to imagine the kind of music that androids would compose. Unlike the clean precision of the likes of Carsten Nicolai, this music is the sound of raw electricity, asynchronous fuzz, blips and pulses topped with heart-tugging melodic simplicity. Sometimes, there are organic hints, like memories of bird song (the little pulses at the end of “Mecanik Heart” sound uncannily like quarrelsome ducks). There are moments of beautiful melancholy scattered about the album, but these are matched by tracks that sound bleak and numb. The closing “Metals Cry”, for example, has a circular purposelessness about it, that is interrupted only by glitches and drop-outs that remind us that the mortality of machines is just as inevitable as it is for us.

Whether you buy into the concept or not, Robots Cry Too is an intelligent and likeable record.

1. Sweet machine 5:34
2. Nano 0n3 5:33
3. 3W7meu 4:55
4. Rmx metals cry 2:52
5. Full battery 3:57
6. Hibrid 4:34
7. Mecanik heart 5:28
8. Metals cry 4:40



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