SXSW Music Interview: Moritz Simon Geist
German musician creates robotic electronic music
Moritz Simon Geist imagined an 808 that played itself. Then he got to work. The result resembles a kalimba with slapping metal tongs and a contact mic.
"My ultimate goal is to make the performer obsolete, so only robots on stage," writes Geist, a German engineer and musician who can back that up. "Six years ago, I quit everything and dedicated my life to robotic electronic music."
For his debut LP, Robotic Electronic Music, he only used robots he built, 3-D printed, or salvaged and engineered back to life. The Dresden-born visionary built a pneumatic hi-hat that looks like a medical device and doubles – with the other music robots that click, cut, hum, and whir – as an art installation. His 2018 bow sounds like the Swedish Chef using his kitchen for techno before the popcorn explodes.
"If I need a synthesized sound, I imagine how to make it in real life. I test out a lot of metals and woods, then I build a robotic sound machine around that," he explains. "In playing techno and electronic music with synthesizers and computers, there was always something missing. So I decided I will give a physical body back to electronic music."