Robotics

Compressorhead rocks the crowd to find new robot band member

Compressorhead rocks the crowd...
The folks behind robotic rock band Compressorhead are hoping that crowdfunsing will help them create a new lead singer
The folks behind robotic rock band Compressorhead are hoping that crowdfunsing will help them create a new lead singer
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Fingers rocks a Gibson Flying V, while Bones chugs on a Fender Precision bass
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Fingers rocks a Gibson Flying V, while Bones chugs on a Fender Precision bass
The folks behind robotic rock band Compressorhead are hoping that crowdfunsing will help them create a new lead singer
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The folks behind robotic rock band Compressorhead are hoping that crowdfunsing will help them create a new lead singer
Bones' eight fingers are controlled through Ableton Live software
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Bones' eight fingers are controlled through Ableton Live software
The robot builders responsible for the band say that the lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together"
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The robot builders responsible for the band say that the lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together"
The Gibson Flying V played by Fingers features a Min-E-Tune robotic tuning system
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The Gibson Flying V played by Fingers features a Min-E-Tune robotic tuning system
Stickboy and Junior laying down a robotic groove
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Stickboy and Junior laying down a robotic groove
Bones joined Stickboy and Fingers in 2013, and Compressorhead has rocked as a power trio ever since
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Bones joined Stickboy and Fingers in 2013, and Compressorhead has rocked as a power trio ever since
Fingers was created in 2009 and sports 78 "fingers," two slides and seven dampers
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Fingers was created in 2009 and sports 78 "fingers," two slides and seven dampers
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In rock music, there's something quite captivating and magical about a power trio. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana, Cream, ZZ Top, Living Colour ... oh wait, that last one is a four piece. And that's just what the folks behind the robotic rock group Compressorhead are now aiming for. The Berlin-based "heavy metal" bot band has turned to Kickstarter in its search for a new lead singer.

The band has been rocking as a two-piece since 2012, with Stickboy (drums) and Fingers (guitar) providing the White Stripes-like visual and musical feast – though technically the hi-hat-holding Junior bot made it three – until Bones (bass) joined the band in January 2013. Now Compressorhead has a shot at recording its first album and needs a singer and second guitarist to help bring life to 14 original songs penned specifically for the band by Canadian musician Mr. Wright of NoMeansNo, The Hanson Brothers and D.O.A. fame.

The first bot musician created by the three-string build team was Stickboy in 2007. The appropriately-named percussion master has four stick-wielding arms and is controlled over MIDI. Next up was Fingers in 2009, which features 78 "fingers," two slides and seven dampers and plays a Gibson Flying V guitar that packs a Min-E-Tune system (robot tuning, too). The V outputs via a TC Electronics G-Major effects unit through to a Marshall JVM 410H amp and twin cabs.

There's a bit of a Johnny Five vibe about Bones, which packs eight fingers controlled through Ableton Live software. Those hands chug out some bottom end on a Fender Precision bass via a TC Electronic Blacksmith into one or more Ampeg 8 x 10 "Fridge" amps.

The robot builders responsible for the band say that the lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together"
The robot builders responsible for the band say that the lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together"

The team of artist/builders says that the new front robot lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together." The aim is to have the new band member interact with an audience. It will roll around the stage on tracks and something called a "Mindlink Web App" is on the to-do list, which will allow fans to communicate with band members.

Naturally, Kickstarter backers are not being offered instrument-playing robots as campaign perks. But in order to raise the €290,000 (about US$310,000) needed to design and construct a new high performance machine, the build team is offering pledge rewards such as t-shirts, downloads of the new album or, for those who prefer physical media, vinyl records and CDs, mounted presentation drumsticks and a chance to jam with the band for an hour.

The fixed funding campaign, which means that the project creators won't receive any money unless the target goal is reached, runs until Dec 5. If all goes well, some early perks are estimated for delivery next month. Those pledging for a copy of the album will have to wait until the middle of next year though.

You can see Compressorhead in action in the video below, and learn more about the crowdfunding effort.

Sources: Compressorhead, Kickstarter

Building a Robot Lead Vocalist and producing first Album

View gallery - 8 images
3 comments
EddieG
This reminds me of J.Fred Muggs fingerpainting on the Dave Garroway Show. We were fascinated, but few museums exhibited the chimp's work.
Lbrewer42
Just Disney-like animatronics with a bit more elelctrical control. I am impressed with their complexity of switches, gears, etc., but autonomy would impress me a lot more. As it is, these remind me of just very large remote control toys - something like a radio controlled lawn mower would be.
The novelty I think is what makes them special - but if/when they start being able to make their own creative music - then they will really be impressive. You have to have a soul for real music to be truly special. The lead "singer" will likely have to be just an extended mouthpiece from a human. Again - old tricks with new glitz.
Bob Flint
The real Heavy Metal Band....
Maybe needs a slick silicone chick on vocals....