Composer Leonardo Barbadoro releases ‘Musica Automata’, an album performed entirely by a robotic orchestra

Leonardo Barbadoro, formerly known by his electronic alias Koolmorf Widesen, is an Italian musician and producer based in Florence. The versatile composer released his highly anticipated album Musica Automata, an LP comprised of orchestral music performed entirely by robots, on the 3rd of November 2023 vai Helical Records. With the official LP recently garnering support from musictech, the initial project and concept, launched a few years ago, gained serious mainstream attention from publications such as Red Bull, Vice, RaiNews, and CNN Indonesia. In addition to this, as Koolmorf Widesen, he has performed alongside the likes of Apparat, Venetian Snares, DJ Spooky and 808 State. Showing no signs of slowing down, ‘Bomi’, has already premiered and received support from electronicgroove, while, ‘Hypr Spiro’,  premiered and gained support from notable tastemaker CLASH Magazine.

Leonardo began his musical career at a very young age playing various instruments and fiddling around with tape recorders. Shortly after this he quickly became interested in composition and electronic music. This led him to study at Cherubini Conservatory in Florence where he obtained a degree in “Music and New Technologies”. After an impressive foray into the European electronic and rave scene as Koolmorf Widesen, Leonardo began composing music for an orchestra of automated instruments controlled entirely by digital impulses, making use of the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium. Thus, Musica Automata was born, and in 2018 Leonardo created a crowdfunding campaign to fund the composition and recording of an entire album with the robotic orchestra. Later that year the project was successfully founded, receiving excellent media coverage from the international press. This culminated in a live performance of the installation at Tomorrowland festival in Belgium in 2019

The ensemble of musical robots that is Musica Automata, includes numerous classical instruments (percussion, woodwind, brass, organ) as well as many unconventional instruments, making it the largest orchestra of robots in existence. Controlled remotely by Leonardo, many of the parameters (dynamics, sound envelope and more) are also programmed, adding subtle ‘human’ nuances to the robotic performance, breathing life into the automation. Pushing the boundaries of what we know sonically, Leonardo Barbadoro is a pioneer in his approach to merge contemporary classical and electronic influences, presenting a finished product that is totally unique in its spellbinding differentiation and combination of two seemingly contradictory themes. Abound with interesting poly-rythms, intricate motifs, and microtonall melodies, there’s a clear display of honed musicality here, as the various robotically played instruments unite across layers of cascading sounds, calling and responding in perfect unison. The sheer fact that it was programmed entirely by Leonardo and performed without the touch of a human is where the true value lies. It’s beautifully unpredictable, and distinctly experimental.