The Warp Records stalwarts collaborate with Felix Thorn’s musical sculptures “Felix’s Machines.”
Warp Records have announced that Plaid will be collaborating with sound artist Felix Thorn, who’s musical sculpture “Felix’s Machines,” exist as a type of futuristic player piano, much like Bex the Chemist’s “automatic orchestra” found in the first chapters of Raymond Roussel’s “Impressions of Africa.” (Roussel’s novel, like Lautreamont’s “Maldoror,” being a prototypical surrealist work). The automatic orchestra, in a sense, is one of the first conceptualizations of what became the synthesizer.
So imaginative was Roussel that he informed much of Marcel Duchamp’s work, especially “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même), or “The Large Glass.” One might say that the eccentric French author—born into a fabulously wealthy family—was the analogue of Lewis Carroll and the prologue to Thomas Pynchon.
The similarities between Bex’s automatic orchestra Felix’s machines are startling: both are instruments nestled inside glass cylinders, cycling through various melodies and rhythms. Whereas Bex must trigger his automatic orchestra, Felix’s machines need only be turned on. And while Bex has devised a musical automaton that performs and amplifies strings and horns, Felix’s automaton is more of an electronic sound collage but with a distinctly IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) quality. In fact, “Felix’s Machines” give a whole new meaning to IDM.
All of this makes me wonder if Felix Thorn was inspired by Raymond Roussel’s novels.
It is with this machine that Plaid is collaborating at Village Underground in London April 7th. According to Warp’s website:
The machines have solely been prescribed with the music of the creator. Felix’s Machines will converge with Plaid and create ‘an experiment of live amplification and processing will marry acoustic robotic to digital synthesis creating an exquisite transitory performance.’
Plaid are really the natural choice to pair with Felix’s Machines—much of their music has a futuristic, rhythmic quality that fits with the sonic character of the machines.
Watch a video of Felix’s Machines below and listen to some Plaid to get an idea of how man and automaton will be collaborating.
Plaid – “Marry”