The collection of "mechanical music" I put together last month was a surprise hit, and it just so happens that some more music played not by human hands has come my way: an awesome German slide-guitar robot, a complex contraption that accompanies silent films, and a real curiosity: a late '50s album of rock 'n' roll player-piano arrangements.
The Three Sirens are the aforementioned German guitar-bots; their site's free-download page has some tasty tunes from their album "Robot Rock" - I especially like the balls-out (gears-out?) "Aglaopheme's Solo."
The P.A.M. (Partially Artificial Musicians) Band (pictured above) was created by Kurt Coble of the (get this) "Robotic Music Laboratory" of the University of Bridgeport, CT. No album, but as evidenced by the videos on his site, the live show must be amazing. His 'bots have recently been performing an original score to the classic Fritz Lang silent sci-fi film "Metropolis."
J. Lawrence Cook was a veteran piano-roll puncher and pianist who made a bizarre album in the late '50s of his piano-roll versions of current rock and r'n'b hits. A live band accompanies the player-piano mechanically grinding out unlikely (sometimes near-unrecognizable) ragtime-ish versions of songs made famous by Elvis, Bill Haley & The Comets, The Everly Brothers, etc, as well as some Cook originals. Why?! I mean, why go to the bother of laboriously punching out a player piano roll if live musicians are performing - why not just sit down and play the piano live? Definitely one of the weirdest artifacts of the original rock 'n 'roll era.
J. Lawrence Cook "Piano Roll Rock 'n' Roll"
Thanks to J-Unit 1 and windbag!