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Robot band gives new face to music industry

Written by: Joseph Albahari

Daft Punk is not the only musical robot group storming the media in 2014.

Z-Machine, an all-robot band created by Yoichiro Kawaguchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, and designed by Naofumi Yonetsuka, a fellow robotics engineer of the university, has come into the spotlight.

Kawaguchi and the other creators worked with Squarepusher, a recording artist from England, to help create Z-Machine’s first album.

“In this project, the main question I’ve tried to answer is ‘can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?’” Squarepusher said in a press release.

The robot band includes a drummer, a guitarist and a keyboardist.

“Each of the robotic devices involved in the performance of this music has its own specification which permits certain possibilities,” Squarepusher said.

The drummer, Ashura, is equipped with 22 arms which allow him to play much faster than any human. Mach, the guitarist, has 78 fingers and can headbang, sing and play at the same time. Cosmo, the keyboardist, has the ability to beam lasers out of his head that form various shapes.

The robots’ unique design allows them to hit notes that are impossible for human musicians to reach. This creates a new horizon for music enthusiasts.

The group’s first album, “Music for Robots,” will be released April 8 and is currently available for preorder on iTunes or Bleep.

When preordered, the user is given the band’s first single, “Sad Robot Goes Funny.” The album has five tracks and costs $5 to preorder on iTunes and $14.99 for a physical CD or vinyl.







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