I recently received the most cryptic message of my career, a text from an unidentified source that simply read, "Obey imperative: Automusik words about Automusik images about Automusik." Of course, light bulbs immediately went off in my head. Images of world domination by the music generation entity known as Automusik flashed before my eyes. A warm, comfortable wave overpowered me as I slumped in my seat and acquiesced to the flow of information.
As it turned out, the injection of data directly into my neocortex that followed served as an important reminder: Of how, in 2004, a new group came into being that did not make music with vibrating instruments but with electronic noise machines called "synthesizers." It was as if the previous half century of popular music had never happened, swept away by the wonderful machinery invented by Automusik. As soon as I remembered that, the rest of was easy.
Automusik Can Do No Wrong, the film of the group that invented a music known as "electronik," will be screening in a week's time, thanks to the willing vessels at Indie Memphis. Before 2004, no one thought to pursue such a thing as machine-generated music. Thank goodness for Automusik.
As the group of three celebrity machine-servicers proclaim in the film: Our music exists in an entirely self contained unit for the production and advancement of of acceptable representations of generally appealing reference waves which are synthesized in a manner that is both pleasing and disturbing and will allow for Automusik to become an object of sexual invitation and achieve a state of popularity within the prevalent attitudes of the current musical customs.
"And then we dance to them," one adds.
Such are the insights the group shared with director Phil Johnson fifteen years ago, when the film debuted. Hailing from somewhere between Aberdeen and Adelaide, Johnson is an elusive character today. When a bit of sleuthing revealed that he was holed up in Belize with tech eccentric John McAfee, I was able to get a message through. The only reply from Johnson was that "The best decision I made with Automusik Can Do No Wrong was to feature myself prominently. Having completed it, I had nothing more to say. That is all." Then a link appeared: "Would you like to know more?"
After a quick transfer of cryptocurrency, a dark web link was anonymously texted to me via WhatsApp. I followed. The Automusik platform engaged me enthusiastically with the words, "Our musik is krafted as a wholly original and inimitable werk. Please see your phone's autokomplete for all other queries." Curious, I began to text myself the answers.
The words to the left were created entirely by my device, although I'm not quite sure how the word "Automusik" kept appearing sporadically through the process. But the platform was right: no further queries were needed. For the rest, I needed only view the film, which documents the group's rise from obscure German origins to complete saturation of the U.S. market.
The special effects budget was huge for this effort, ultimately creating the illusion that this multimillion-dollar production was shot on a shoestring. The true scale of the venture is revealed through the writing credits alone, as writers the caliber of C. Scott McCoy, Scott Moss, and Talbot Fields are not cheap. Allusions to other rock blockbusters like Purple Rain or Rattle and Hum can also cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing alone. These expenditures are why Automusik Can Do No Wrong makes us happy.
Go see this groundbreaking film, winner of the 2004 Indie Memphis Film Festival Hometowner Best Feature, while you can. Not only will you rediscover the rush of early-aughts Memphis, when anything seemed possible, you'll fall in love all over with the endearing charm of a band beloved by billions. In their own words, "We are highly sexy. Automusik is sexier than you. The subject of your current affection is Automusik. You should be lucky to see us because we are celebrities. Und you and all these are nobodies. That is why you paid to be here."
Automusik Can Do No Wrong (15 Year Anniversary Screening) will be shown at the Malco Powerhouse Cinema Grill and Bar on Tuesday, June 11, 7:00-9:00 pm.