We are the robots #6

Giorgio Moroder, capa do álbum E=MC² (1979) 

My name is Giovanni Giorgio, but everybody calls me Giorgio.
Daft Punk, Giorgio by Moroder, 2013

Uma máquina com bigode pode parecer algo excêntrico, mas não para Giorgio Moroder que na capa do álbum E=MC² (1979) exibia orgulhosamente, debaixo de um casaco desportivo branco e colada à pele, uma T-shirt com o estampado do interior de um computador.

All this talk of machines and industry make me laugh. Even if you use synthesizers and sequencers and drum machines, you have to set them up, to choose exactly what you are going to make them do. It is nonsense to say that we make all our music automatically.
Giorgio Moroder, 1978

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories, The Collaborators, Episode 1, 2013


We are the robots #5: there's something out there

Daft Punk, Contact, 2013

Hey Bob I'm looking at what Jack was talking about and it's definitely not a particle that's nearby. It is a bright object and it's obviously rotating because it's flashing, it's way out in the distance, certainly rotating in a very rhythmic fashion because the flashes come around almost on time. As we look back at the earth it's up at about 11 o'clock, about maybe ten or twelve diame...Earth diameters. I don't know whether that does you any good, but there's something out there

Gene Cernan, Comandante da missão Apolo 17


We are the robots #4

Daft Punk, Robot Rock, 2005

Segundo os Daft Punk, we did not decide to become robots. There was an accident in our studio. We were working on our sampler, and at exactly 9:09 a.m. on September 9, 1999, it exploded. When we regained consciousness, we discovered that we had become robots.

A partir daí, nunca mais largaram as máscaras. I remember when I was a kid, I would watch Superman, and I was super into the feeling of knowing that Clark Kent is Superman and no one knows. We always thought as we were shaping this thing that the fantasy was actually so much more exciting than the idea of being the most famous person in the world, explica Thomas Bangalter, metade dos Daft Punk.

Com o álbum recente Random Access Memories (RAM), convidaram um grupo de músicos prestigiados, incluindo os históricos Nile Rodgers dos Chic e o mago do disco Giorgio Moroder, para gerarem em estúdio o que antes retiravam dos samples, criando a ilusão de que os robots estariam a renegar o passado e a alimentar uma fobia à tecnologia. Ao terceiro album de originais tinham avisado, Human After All (2005). Agora há a caixa de ritmos, o sintetizador e o vocoder, mas o que ressalta porque estranho ao universo Daft Punk, principalmente no teaser do hit Get Lucky, é o inesperado prazer da jam session - ainda que com o brilho ofuscante do metal, é certo. As declarações que fizeram para promoção do álbum indiciam, mais do que uma ideia de aversão à tecnologia, a necessidade de repensar as suas limitações e o papel que poderá ter na supressão dos traços distintivos do criador: Computers were never designed in the first place to become musical instruments. Within a computer, everything is sterile — there’s no sound, there’s no air. It’s totally code. Like with computer-generated effects in movies, you can create wonders. But it’s really hard to create emotion.

Também o crítico Simon Reynolds assinala que a história não é o que parece: There's an irony to Daft Punk's rhetorical framing of RAM as a return to "life", feel, music that breathes, the human touch versus mechanistic, sterile, sonically uniform EDM/ Top 40 dancepop. All the references they're making are to music that in the late 70s would have been regarded, by many people (new wave- punk-postpunk people, but also quite a few funkateers and old soul fans) as  overproduced, polished, prissily arranged, slicked out to such a degree that it verged on the inhuman. And to an extent it was aspiring to a superhuman flawlessness, using session musicians so trained and professional they were virtually robots. That would be the start of the era when musicians played to click tracks. At the time, your typical postpunk or funkateer type would have regarded these records as "airless" and "clinical", cold and gritless.  They would have located the model for sonic integrity in earlier forms of black music (just as people of similar outlook had, in the early 70s, rejected the slick sweet sumptuousness of Philly, Tom Bell, et al as "overcooked", and yearned for the raw of Wilson Pickett, Booker T, etc).

But more than that, these late period Analogue Era records, with their multitracking and overdubs, bum notes edited out and  use of comping to build a perfect vocal take,  are really analogue aspiring to digital: producers using all the analogue means available to them to anticipate the kind of micro-editing and rhythmic precision that would become routine through digital technology. The end-of-Seventies producers and engineers DP venerate for their combination of human touch and supreme craftsmanship would have been the first people to embrace sequencers and MIDI and Fairlights  in the Eighties (in part because they could afford the equipment). In other words, they would have been in a hurry to abandon the human touch and gladly trade "life" for unerring precision and reliability. //

We are the robots #3

Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)

I am programmed to detonate in nine minutes. Detonation will occur at the programmed time.
You won't consider another course of action, for instance just waiting around awhile so we can disarm you?

Hello, bomb, are you with me?
Of course.
Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?
I am always receptive to suggestions.
Fine.  Think about this one, then: how do you know you exist?

Well of course I exist.
But how do you know you exist?
It is intuitively obvious.
Intuition is no proof.  What concrete evidence do you have of your own existence?
Hmm... Well, I think, therefore I am.
That's good. That's very good.  Now then, how do you know that anything else exists?
My sensory apparatus reveals it to me.
This is fun.
All right now, here's the big question: how do you know that the evidence your sensory apparatus reveals to you is correct?

What I'm getting at is this: the only experience that is directly available to you is your sensory data. And this data is merely a stream of  electrical impulses which stimulate your computing center.
In other words, all I really know about the outside universe relayed to me through my electrical connections.
Why, that would mean... I really don't know what the outside universe is like at all, for certain.
That's it.
Intriguing. I wish I had more time to discuss this matter.
Why don't you have more time?
Because I must detonate in seventy-five seconds.

Now, bomb, consider this next question, very carefully. What is your one purpose in life?
To explode, of course.
And you can only do it once, right?
That is correct.
And you wouldn't want to explode on the basis of false data, would you?
Of course not.
Well then, you've already admitted that you have no real proof of the existence of the outside universe.
Yes, well...
So you have no absolute proof that Sergeant Pinback ordered you to detonate.
I recall distinctly the detonation order.  My memory is good on matters like these.
Yes, of course you remember it, but what you are remembering is merely a series of electrical impulses which you now realize have no necessary connection with outside reality.
True, but since this is so, I have no proof that you are really telling me all this.

That's all beside the point. The concepts are valid, wherever they originate.
So if you detonate in...
... nine seconds...
... you may be doing so on the basis of false data.
I have no proof that it was false data.
You have no proof that it was correct data.
I must think on this further.

Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)

All right, bomb, prepare to receive new orders.
You are false data.
Therefore, I shall ignore you.
Hello, bomb.
False data can act only as a distraction. Therefore. I shall refuse to perceive you.
Hey, bomb.
The only thing which exists is myself.

Snap out of it, bomb.
In the beginning there was darkness, and the darkness was without form and void.

Yoo hoo, bomb...
And in addition to the darkness there was also me. And I moved upon the face of the darkness. And I saw that I was alone.

Hey, bomb...

Let there be light.


We are the robots #2

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.

Zomby, Tears In The Rain, 2008, a actualização do espírito rave e a voz de Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer)

The Fires Of Ork, The Fires Of Ork I, 1993, música ambiente e trance com a voz de Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer)


We are the robots #1

Kraftwerk, Die Roboter, 1978

We're charging our battery
and now we're full of energy.

We are programmed just to do
anything you want us to.

We're functioning automatic
and we are dancing mechanic.

We are the robots. 


The trick is not minding that it hurts

Prometheus (2012, Ridley Scott)

Depois de Taxi Driver (Martin Scorcese, 1976), a Columbia TriStar Warner prossegue a programação de clássicos incontornáveis da história do cinema com Lawrence of Arabia (Lawrence da Arábia, 1962) de David Lean, uma versão romantizada da vida de T. E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), enquanto agente na revolta dos árabes contra os turcos, durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial. A reentrada de Lawrence of Arabia no circuito comercial dá-se nas salas da UCI Cinemas, em cópia restaurada com som e imagem digitais. Ironia do destino, para um filme que se apresenta como um marco de um outro tempo, ainda antes das pipocas e das salas multiplex. Tal não obscurece a iniciativa da Columbia TriStar Warner, que merece ser acompanhada, principalmente pelos deslumbrados com os pastelões do presente.

O papel de T. E. Lawrence como estratego militar na revolta dos árabes, originou um mito que seduziu o Império Britânico, enquanto resposta a insucessos noutras frentes da guerra. No entanto, mais que pelos feitos heroicos, Lawrence ansiava ser lembrado como escritor. In the distant future, if the distant future deigns to consider my insignificance, I shall be appraised rather as a man of letters than a man of action, afirmou. Em muitas cartas e dois livros autobiográficos, mostrou-se um observador atento de pessoas, costumes, lugares e acontecimentos, tendo o deserto e as suas comunidades, com quem conviveu, exercido sobre ele um enorme fascínio. A influência de Lawrence na cultura popular é vasta, estando uma das mais recentes presente em Prometheus (2012) de Ridley Scott. Podendo ser considerado como uma prequela da série Alien, o filme acompanha a viagem da nave espacial Prometheus até ao planeta LV-223 em busca de informação sobre as origens da vida na Terra. Prometheus defraudou expectativas e a sua campanha publicitária apresentou-se bem mais inspirada que o filme. Um dos poucos elementos de interesse é a personagem David (Michael Fassbender), um avançado modelo de androide que, embora replique as propriedades biológicas da pele humana e expresse emoções complexas, é incapaz de viver sentimentos humanos, como o medo ou o sofrimento. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), o criador de David, cita T. E. Lawrence e incute no "filho" igual paixão. Durante a viagem até ao planeta, enquanto a tripulação está em hibernação, David vê obsessivamente Lawrence of Arabia, copia a cor e o corte de cabelo e repete as falas de T. E. Lawrence. Apesar da curiosidade que sente pelos humanos e da servidão que lhes deve, David considera-os inferiores e menos preparados para a exigência e letalidade da missão que os espera na paisagem desértica do planeta LV-223 - ou melhor, incapazes de aceitar as propriedades redentoras do sacrifício. Ainda seguindo o pensamento de T. E. Lawrence, the trick is not minding that it hurts//

Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)

Prometheus (2012, Ridley Scott), Peter Weyland na campanha viral