Sunday, January 27, 2008


The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots.

Sounds like something out of a comic book, eh? But it's a real, Brooklyn-based organization that create ..."exotic, sculptural musical instruments which integrate robotic technology. LEMUR's philosophy is to build robots that are new types of musical instruments, as opposed to animatronic robots that play existing instruments. LEMUR's growing ensemble includes over 50 robotic instruments."

That odd object you see pictured is the GuitarBot. The four strings can be controlled separately, picking and sliding to create a sound that, indeed, would never be confused with a "real" guitar. Unfortunately, there's only one recording available on their site (and no CDs for sale), and it gets cut off:

Joshua Fried: "EmergencyBot"

To really get an idea of the wonder of these instruments, check out the videos. The vid on the bottom left is a "performance" of George Antheil's 1924 composition "Ballet
Mecanique" using a veritable robot orchestra. I counted at least 14 player pianos alone. "Ballet Mecanique" was originally scored to include airplane propeller, not used here, but player pianos are certainly appropriate for this kind of group - they're among the oldest surviving forms of self-played musical instruments, dating back to the late 1800s, and have been used by avant-pranksters practically ever since.


Radio Wonderland said...

There IS a good recording of EmergencyBot, both audio and video:

"Emergency Bot TV Theme"

by Joshua Fried

Mr Fab said...

Excellent, thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely fantastic. I think the 2008 posts have been pure gold so far. Keep up the great work Mr. Fab!

onno david said...

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