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EOL Robot Band
July 22, 2011 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Rock Lobster, as performed by old electronic parts. Beautiful People, by the same mad genius's robotic band, End Of Life.
posted by mrzarquon (27 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
In particular, the fact that the guy goes so far as to use servos and 'fingers' to play a midi keyboard, creating complexity for complexity's sake, makes it just insanely great.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:38 PM on July 22, 2011


Also, just found Bohemian Rhapsody by the same guy, using a flat bed scanner for the chorus.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:39 PM on July 22, 2011


The drummer sucks.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:47 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reminds me of James Houston's Big Ideas (Don't Get Any).
posted by carsonb at 7:47 PM on July 22, 2011


My favorite is his "Funkytown". Per his YouTube notes, I hope he fixes his 'Robot Cello' to be able to bring us "Mad World". So many more pop songs worth abusing this way...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and when I say "the drummer sucks," I mean the whole ensemble has no coherent sense of rhythm. It can't be that hard to sync them all to one midi or cv clock.

To say nothing of the fact that no one instrument was in tune with the next.

A+ concept, C+ execution.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow harsh criticism. They're a garage band leave them alone. Besides my blender wants to date the drummer.

I say Brilliant!
posted by Edward L at 8:09 PM on July 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I was lucky enough to catch Aphex Twin about 10 years ago and he actually did a blender solo. True story.
posted by mannequito at 8:34 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow harsh criticism.

It's so close to being great. With all this complexity, the fact that a most basic concept like synchronized rhythm is just ignored is really bothersome.

All that work to make it work, and just to ignore the timing of the instruments is, well, lazy. Something that could be this good is worth the effort. I can understand getting the timing of the printer to sync would be difficult, but the rest could be easily synced with a midi timecode.

It's like writing a good essay, but just not bothering with any punctuation.
posted by chambers at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's easy to sync the triggers, but it actually takes time for actuators, etc, to physically move. That's the part that's hard to sync.
posted by empath at 8:45 PM on July 22, 2011


Let's just hold on to one thing humans do better for a little while longer.
posted by clockzero at 8:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


OMG the printer carriage holding the bow is genius.

(Feeding the HD voice-coils in the Funkytown cover with the original audio like that is totally cheating though.)
posted by hattifattener at 9:04 PM on July 22, 2011


Reminds me of the time i saw Man or Astro-Man live and they brought out a dot matrix printer.
posted by sanko at 9:08 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me know when Rock Lobster is actually being played by a B-52.
posted by JHarris at 9:16 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's easy to sync the triggers, but it actually takes time for actuators, etc, to physically move.

Then you just fudge the notes to compensate -- but I don't think that's the problem. In "Rock Lobster," the instruments drift out of sync by entire bars. It's not a major war crime or anything; it's just got some kinks to be worked out before it's quite ready to be properly shown off, I think.

("The Beautiful People," however, is near perfect.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:17 PM on July 22, 2011


I was really impressed with the palm muting on the distorted guitar in the Manson cover. I would have expected it to just be a mess of muddy noise with that much overdrive. I was also surprised that there was no footage of the cello fingerboard actuator.

It's easy to sync the triggers, but it actually takes time for actuators, etc, to physically move. That's the part that's hard to sync.

If you're writing the software to control all this you should be able to just add a constant negative delay factor of X ms (where X is tuned for each different actuator) to compensate for that.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:18 PM on July 22, 2011


There's an implicit criticism of the organ part inherent in the use of 7 (count em) robofingers to play it in its entirety.

And I totally own that oscilloscope. Just not the one I put together from a kit when I was 13. Which never worked.
posted by tspae at 9:19 PM on July 22, 2011


And I just realized that in the spirit of lo-fi he's probably got a separate C64 or Timex Sinclair or something controlling each actuator family, and so oscillator drift between them is probably responsible. Maybe he uses a master clock source on the other tracks.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:20 PM on July 22, 2011


What Sys Rq said. Interesting noises, fun to watch, but at a lot of points, it's like Animusic for people with no sense of rhythm.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:30 PM on July 22, 2011


Is it just me, or would My Slow Descent into Alcoholism be perfect for this?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:41 PM on July 22, 2011


Horrible sync, tuning, and the bass melody is actually wrong. Why go to all this trouble and not actually finish the job?
posted by w0mbat at 10:46 PM on July 22, 2011


From the YouTube description:

Some viewers have mentioned issues with respect to timing. What they do not realize solenoids are mechanical devices and their performance are affected by many factors. Tempurature is a big factor, the solenoids heat up very quickly and the magnetic field strength decreases which slows the response time and piston strength. If you do not press down on the fret board hard enough the string will tend to waver causing it to sound out of tune. All the solenoids were taken out of surplus junk equipment and each are being used for applications for which they weren't designed for. Sure if you want to spend a $1000 you can get stronger and faster actuators. So quit complaining and enjoy the video for which it was intended for.....to put a smile on your face.

So suck it, haters.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:00 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


PASS THE TANNING BUTTER!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:52 AM on July 23, 2011


Love it. Extra props for using a Ricky Wilson-tuned guitar, and the speech synthesizer really captures Fred's sprechgesang well.
posted by scruss at 5:58 AM on July 23, 2011


For what it's worth, here is a black and white video of the B-52s performing Rock Lobster at the Downtown Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia in 1978, about a month before the release of their first album. It really is a moment in history... I wish I had been there.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:38 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tempurature is a big factor

Then just deep fry them in batter. It's not rocket surgery.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:45 AM on July 23, 2011


I'm sticking with The Rock-afire Explosion!
posted by squalor at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2011


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