As the story goes Wolfgang is the circa 1980s robot spawn of a greedy gaming magnate. A robot constructed to be capable of human emotions and analog programmed to be well-versed in the pop music of the era. A robot pop star, capable of writing hit songs, so his benefactor could be repaid with record sales and royalties. The man’s failure to nurture the robot led to Wolfgang’s creativity being stifled and even the robot’s possession of force-fed knowledge of The Human League and New Order couldn’t keep him or the man from a major meltdown of circuitry.
25 years later a young man has plucked Wolfgang from the trash. Dusted off and with a recharged battery, the robot is smitten with his new owner, revealing The Wicked Truth About Loving A Man. Liberated and shown the humanity needed to thrive, Wolfgang’s emergence is both triumphant and tragic. He delivers the harmonious music that he was intended to and arrives at the human emotion he was programmed to be capable of. So empowered by the maintenance he received from his discoverer Wolfgang has fallen in love. His debut album follows the rollercoaster ride of emotion and rejection he encounters as he seeks requited love from his new owner.
Where a band like Daft Punk is obsessed with robots, Wolfgang is a robot that sounds like Daft Punk. The concept of Wolfgang as a musician, would lead some to label the robo-virtuoso with the dubious “novelty act” tag, but such pigeonholing is largely inaccurate. If there is a market for robot actors such as C-3PO and Johnny 5, then why can’t there be robot musicians? Myself, I’m not robotically informed and despite perpetual accusation, I don’t know much about loving a man. What I do know is that there is an obvious underground niche of robot lovers and that from what I’ve learned through Wolfgang, loving a man must be hard work in itself, let alone robot-man love.
Though you might not hear it from the onset, through a hurricane of vocoder/synth mayhem Wolfgang’s lyrics are nothing short of sensational. His words are built upon a potion of pop anthems, dancefloor sex appeal and mechanic simplicity. By the end of the album Wolfgang can be heard loud and clear as he commands you to succumb to him and “unlearn all you have learned.” To get to that pinnacle moment, one must first take in the robot’s plight. On opener “Action Reaction” Wolfgang nearly encounters a sensory overload, “Thoughts racing at the speed of light/ hold me tonight“, as he first meets his new owner. With subtle reminders that he is in fact only a robot “Processing thoughts/ as fast as I can think/transmitting energy thru my/midi sync” mired in a conflict of subservience (“Tell me how you like it/ I cater to you/ you will be in heaven/ when the song is thru“) and self expression (“If you want it/ I am on it/ I will play for you/ dance if you need to/ I’ll add a beat too/ I will sing the tune“).
Wolfgang’s budding affection for his master is the source of his most confident and successful song. The aptly titled “Master of the Music” flips the submissive role to the listener when the robot declares “I’m the master of the music/ you’re a slave to my impulse.” Since all buds eventually bloom, you can guess that inevitably Wolfgang’s rollercoaster of love hits its peak and it does when the robot reveals the vulnerability of unrequited love (“Every second I’m thinking of you/ every minute I’m dreaming that you would/ take me in your arms and never let go/ but you’re a human, and I’m a robo“) and the toll it takes on his processor: “I think this is way too coincidental/my love is total, totally mental.” The turning point for Wolfgang is when he has accepted that he can never truly be shown the affection he craves from his master. So much so that he mulls over mutilating his robo-wrists on “Self Destructive,” a Pet Shop Boyish gem that finds Wolfgang singing “Self destructive and I wanna stop/ because I wanna be a kiddie in a candy shop/ I don’t wanna be a victim of a broken heart/ so won’t you let me go” with all the sassiness of a pop diva. At his most liberated Wolfgang declares “I’m content to be connected/ to the wall no more/ I’m switching to my battery/ to move across the floor,” giving up on his once budding romance—”Have you ever wanted to be in love?/ well I don’t.” Wolfgang’s tumultuous debut travails a bell curve of love, despair, and emancipation and culminates with a “Robotic Revelation”. “I’m not God/ I’m not Jesus/ I’m a robot/ with a sound that pleases” and isn’t that what the people really want?
On The Wicked Truth About Loving A Man Wolfgang attains the musical mastery he was destined for, creating an electro-pop masterpiece of love and desperation. So captivating is Wolfgang that you’ll want to create your own robot twin. You may also be inclined to love a robot in lieu of a man. All the appeal exists for future robo-music proceedings and this album marks the advantageous beginnings of that quasi-revolution. With a name like Wolfgang, this robot is clearly the stuff of legends or at least the soundtrack to your next game of Dungeons & Dragons.