TECH

Z-Machines: New All-Robot Band Has A Guitarist With 78 Fingers (VIDEO)

17/02/2014 10:45 GMT | Updated 17/02/2014 10:59 GMT

In the 1990s we had Blur versus Oasis. Now it's 2014 - aka the future - so we have Compressorhead versus Z-Machines.

Both of whom are made up entirely of robots.

Z-Machines are a new Japanese three-piece robotic band out to take the crown of coolest musical automata from Compressorhead and change ideas about how far we can go with robotics in the process.

And it's fair to say that the band has some impressive players in its ranks. The guitarist has 78 fingers, for instance, while the drummer has 22 arms. Their album, recorded for British label Warp Records with the help of Squarepusher will be released in April. It's caled 'Music For Robots', obviously, and is specifically designed to create new forms of music, not just tunes humans could play.

"Each of the robotic devices involved in the performance of this music has its own specification which permits certain possibilities and excludes others," Squarepusher says.

“In this project the main question I’ve tried to answer is ‘can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?’

"I have long admired the player piano works of Conlon Nancarrow and Gyorgy Ligeti. Part of the appeal of that music has to do with hearing a familiar instrument being 'played' in an unfamiliar fashion. For me there has always been something fascinating about the encounter of the unfamiliar with the familiar. I have long been an advocate of taking fresh approaches to existing instrumentation as much as I am an advocate of trying to develop new instruments, and being able to rethink the way in which, for example, an electric guitar can be used is very exciting."

The band's EP is now available on iTunes ahead of the album's release on 8 April.