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Leonardo Barbadoro unleashes his ambitious and auspicious robot orchestra album, Musica Automata

Italian musician, composer, engineer and producer Leonardo Barbadoro has finally released his fervently-anticipated album Musica Automata via Helical records. The LP is a compilation of orchestral music performed entirely by robots. The initial concept, launched a few years ago, began taking shape after a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2018. It gained serious mainstream attention from publications such as Red Bull, Vice, RaiNews, and CNN Indonesia. The album has been receiving widespread media coverage from the international press such as musictech. This has culminated in a live performance of the installation at Tomorrowland festival in Belgium in 2019. Under his old moniker Koolmorf Widesen, Barbadoro has performed alongside the likes of Apparat, Venetian Snares, DJ Spooky and 808 State. 

The staggering ensemble of musical robots in Musica Automata is the largest orchestra of robots in existence. Barbadoro deploys numerous instruments – an assortment of classic orchestral percussion, woodwind, brass and organs – as well as a host of the unconventional; an eclectic musical melting pot. Controlled remotely by Leonardo, many of the sound’s technical parameters are also programmed to perform automatically, but with meticulously-engineered nuances that create the sense of an almost-organic ‘human’ performance. Abundant in off-kilter polyrhythms, intricate motifs and microtonal melodies, Barbadoro’s musicality and prowess as a producer, composer and engineer truly shine through in this innovative sonic odyssey. 

Leonardo commented on the album: “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”.

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