Garden of Robotic Unkraut


(2 press reviews)

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Garden of Robotic Unkraut is an album of Experimental Music recorded over two days in the sacred studios of the ORF’s (Austrian national broadcaster) ‘Radiokulturhaus’.

The album is Exclusively Available in Stereo DSD 512, DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 and the recorded format of Stereo PCM 384k WAV at NativeDSD.

The first 6 songs are compositions played by Blueblut together with Chris Janka’s ‘Totally Mechanized Midi Orchestra’. Tracks 7-11 are improvisations together with Nicola Hein and the Mechanical Orchestra.

The orchestra is controlled by an artificial intelligence software that Nicola Hein programmed specifically for robotic instruments. The songs can be heard 100% as they were recorded live in the studio and yes, robots can improvise!

The entire session was filmed, which resulted in the documentary film “The Garden of Robotic Unkraut” directed by Angela Christlieb and distributed by Sixpack Films.

Chris Janka, Guitar
Pamelia Stickney, Theremin
Mark Holub, Drums
Nicola Hein, AI Programming & Guitar (tracks 7-11)


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Nummer 5
Garden 8
Garden 7
Garden 1
Garden 6
Garden 5

Total time: 01:19:13

Additional information





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Original Recording Format

Produced, Mixed & Mastered

Chris Janka /Janka.Industries

Production Engineer

Ingrid Song

Recording Location

24th and 25th of October 2021 at ORF- Radiokulturhaus, Studio 2

Recording Manager

Philipp Bevanda

Sound Engineer

Robert Pavlecka

Release DateApril 16, 2024

Press reviews

Jazz Journal

Jamming with improvising robots, Austrian experimentalists featuring Led Bib boss Mark Holub suggest a cross between Punk and Stockhausen.

Blueblut have added new musicians for their latest record – one human and six robots. Alongside Chris Janka’s guitar, Pamelia Stickney’s theremin and Mark Holub’s drumkit, the trio welcomes an orchestra of six robotic instruments built by Janka using motors, magnets and pneumatic components. Nicola Hein also contributes his guitar, as well as customized software that has taught the machines to improvise. But can these robo-cats really swing?

The album is split into two parts. First, six tracks use the robots like a backing band that lays down a programmed foundation for their human bandmates to play over. Then five tracks explore Hein’s improvisation software, which runs audio signals through a machine-learning process in real time and triggers responses from the robots. That enables the humans and robots to interact almost exactly like any other jazz musicians.

Pompeji kicks off the first half. One robot hums. Another makes a pulsing noise. Something is plinking and clinking. Janka’s crunchy guitar tone adds a rock-ish riff. The robotic background gives Holub space to spread out, and he throws his drumkit into the limelight often. Then a machine rounds things off by blowing compressed air into glass bottles.

The improvisation experiment begins with Garden 8. They make a tentative start, dipping toes in uncharted waters before wading deeper. Pockets of energy rise, some quickly and some slowly. Unaware of jazz etiquette for when to step back and push forward, the robots are strikingly bold in their playing.

Blueblut have a groovy and wide-open sound, with a pioneering approach to performance. Garden Of Robotic Unkraut is a remarkable technical achievement – with plenty of enjoyable musical moments too. This is an exciting and refreshing group of Jazz improvisers. And the humans aren’t bad either.

The Jazz Mann 4 out of 5

Garden Of Robotic Unkraut is Experimental music that doesn’t take it itself too seriously, but which is capable of appealing to adventurous listeners from both the Jazz and Rock camps.

This is the fourth album release from Blueblut, the Vienna based trio featuring guitarist, sonic experimenter and studio owner Chris Janka, theremin specialist Pamelia Stickney and drummer Mark Holub, the last named best known to UK audiences as the drummer and leader of the mighty Led Bib.

With the new album the trio explore the possibilities of working with Janka’s TMMO, or the ‘robots’ as the press release accompanying the new recording calls them. Blueblut deploy the ‘robots’ as a kind of ‘backing band’, creating programmed tracks that the human musicians could then play both composed and improvised music around. The initial results of this ‘collaboration’ were premièred live at FLUC in Vienna in the summer of 2020 but the album was not recorded until October 2021, the project having been inevitably interrupted courtesy of the Covid pandemic.

It’s almost impossible to believe that Blueblut have been working together as a trio for nearly ten years. During this time they’ve produced four fascinating albums with this latest release expanding their sound palette even further thanks to Janka’s inventions and Hein’s ingenuity. It all hangs together remarkably well and is very much in keeping with the Blueblut ethos, experimental music that doesn’t take it itself too seriously, but which is capable of appealing to adventurous listeners from both the jazz and rock camps.

With the focus on composition the first half of the recording is the more accessible but these six tracks clock in at around forty minutes and virtually constitute an album in themselves. Viewed in this way the improvisations, which also include much for the listener to enjoy, can almost be seen as a bonus disc. At around thirty eight minutes they basically constitute a second album.

The addition of the mechanized instruments makes Blueblut’s music even more difficult to describe but it remains eminently fascinating and enjoyable. The skill with which the various mechanized sounds are integrated into the music is extremely impressive and I’m sure that any live performance featuring Blueblut and the Midi-Orchestra would represent a unique musical experience for the listener.


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