- Revolution Robots, Microprocessor
It feels like we've been waiting forever for the robot revolution. From writer Isaac Asimov to filmmaker James Cameron, artists have been warning for decades about the inevitable day when your Alexa will become self-aware and begin plotting your doom. At this point, I'm like, Put up or shut up, robots. Get to it already. I hope I won't have to deal with student loans once the machine overlords are in charge.
Unfortunately, if or when the machines take over, the music might suck. Maybe I'm taking Revolution Robots' tagline, "music by robots, for robots," too literally, but after pressing through six excruciatingly bad tracks on Microprocessor, I was ready for an EMP generator to kill the robot.
The first track, "Get Down," is the album's dance number. It sounds like someone tried to write code for creating bebop but instead generated a remixed dial tone. Picture a jeans ad for robots. This would be the tune playing while blue-collar robots tossed around hay bales in their robot jeans, living that robot simple life.
"Microprocessor," the album's second track, features the refrain "She just wants to fuck / She wants to fuck / She wants to fuck with my microprocessor." Have no fear that the songs may turn to robot smut, however. Revolution Robots hold true to the band name: A tinny, metallic voice lists off the demands of working robots everywhere, including better pay and more time off.
Shockingly, the "band" is run by a flesh-and-blood meatbag — sorry, I mean human. (I'm already leaning into robot lingo.) Vermont-based artist and graphic designer Matthew Chaney obfuscates his organic nature by singing over his programmed beats in a cold, heavily processed voice. The album sounds like an art project, as if Chaney set out to make the most synthetic record he could manage. It's not necessarily a unique endeavor, even here in our own music scene, but I'll give Chaney kudos for taking the experiment to an absurd level. Microprocessor is borderline unlistenable for humans.
Because I am a thorough music journalist, I let the album play in my bedroom while leaving on a whole host of devices. Perhaps, I thought, the album would speak to other robots. And though my phone and laptop remained unmoved by Revolution Robots, I discovered to my alarm that my Xbox One had turned on by itself! The final track, "Inactive Human," was still playing, and the gaming console's power light glowed on and off like a robot winking at me, as if to say, "The war is on, motherfucker."
I shut the album off, full of new purpose. If the machines are indeed going to subjugate humanity soon in an inevitable dystopia, let's turn them on to cooler music so they won't make a record like Microprocessor. Because who wants to live in a society in which all the music sounds like two vacuum cleaners shooting sexual innuendos back and forth?
If you are indeed someone who wants to live in that society, check out Microprocessor at revolutionrobots.bandcamp.com.