Friday, 31 October 2014

Song of the Death Machine : Bruce Haack

A Halloween Special!  You lucky lucky people! This is a one off event, never to be repeated. Well it's unlikely to be repeated as these four robot songs are all I found with a (tenuous) Halloween theme.

Throughout the 1960s, Bruce Haack produced a number of records aimed at young children that included his Dance, Sing & Listen series, The Way Out Record for Children (from which the previously posted School for Robots was taken), and the Electronic Record for Children.

Then along comes the 70s and Bruce's next LP is titled The Electric Lucifer. Was this release aimed at children or a more mature audience? I've no idea... but what I do know is that this song would have scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kidbot! It's not only the devilishly deviant arrangement or the demonic delivery of the lyrics that gives this song its edge, but the way the melody meanders around a dark and dissonant soundscape that makes it really sinister... and then there's the word KILL at the end of each passage. All in all... a beautiful lullaby.

Robot Super Lover Boy : No Big Silence

Whilst scraping the bottom of the barrel searching for robot songs with a Halloween theme, I stumbled across this fright fest...

Not only do the lyrics tick the 'Halloween' box with nods to the Devil and a 666 reference, but the band themselves look scary enough to warrant their inclusion on my Hallobot (or Roboween) special. I'm sure they're all very nice in real life and only dressed in such frightful attire for Halloween.

Electric Funeral : Black Sabbath

OK, maybe the Halloween theme of this song is tenuous at best and non-existent at worst... but it is by Black Sabbath, a band loved and feared in equal measure for their satanic lyrics and devilish riffs. Black Sabbath tick the Halloween box and the lyric "Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage" ticks the robot box... so without further ado... it's Black Sabbath with Electric Funeral.

Robot Hell - Futurama

I almost forgot about this one.   Phew... turama!!

update: it appears that the miserable sods over at Fox have had my video blocked... and then weeks later it's been unblocked again... make yer minds up!

Tomorrow I'll provide the antidote to this cyber-satanic celebration with some god bothering rap-hop!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21 : The Flaming Lips

It was whilst listening to The Flaming Lips that I had the initial idea for 101 Songs About Robots. At the time the prospect of actually finding 101 robot songs seemed like a real challenge, but since this is song number 103, I guess the challenge has been met... but it's a long way from being over.

I had the pleasure of watching The Flaming Lips perform in front of the lovely Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank a few years ago. They're certainly not my favourite band, nor do they exhibit exceptional musical tallent, but they certainly know how to put on a good show. The location, the light-show, the lasers, the confetti canons and everything else The Flaming Lips gave to the audience all adds up to the best concert I've ever attended. I've already posted Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt. 1, so today I'm posting another robot song from that same album... One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21 ...a symphonic chill pill that marks the moment when one more robot becomes more than just a machine.

The video has been cobbled together with scenes from the Anime flick 'Ghost in the Shell'.

Don't miss my robotic Halloween Special... coming up on er.... Halloween!

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Man Machine : Kraftwerk

When I said I wouldn't be stopping when I'd posted 101 songs about robots, I meant it. Song number 102 is another robo-classic from the Germanic pioneers of robo-pop. Taken from the 1978 LP 'Die Mensch-Maschine', it's Kraftwerk with The Man Machine.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Spirit of the Age : Hawkwind

The first song I posted on 101 Songs About Robots was Hawkwind's Robot, so by way of book-ending, song number 101 is also by Hawkwind and is taken from their classic album 'Quark Strangeness and Charm'. Spirit of the Age is a song about intergalactic space travel and cloning, but has a robotic theme at its heart with the lyric "Your android replica is playing up again". Written by Dave Brock and Robert Calvert, Spirit of the Age has got to be one of Hawkwind's greatest moments. As with Robot, Calvert delivers his lyrics as a spoken-song whilst the space rockers behind him provide the solid chugging rhythm that keeps this song sounding as futuristic and dystopic today as I'm sure it did back in 1977.

Finally my blog lives up to its name: 101 Songs About Robots! 

This is not the end by a long chalk, but it is the end of me feeling the need to post a robot song a day... which I must admit is a bit of a relief. There's plenty more robot songs to come, including a Halloween and Xmas special, so stay tuned, follow this blog and revel in all things robotic as we stomp, strum and sing our way towards 1001 Songs About Robots!

I've added my favourite robot songs from the blog to the 101 Songs About Robots... RADIO! playlist, although there's only eighty-odd songs at time of writing... it'll get there eventually. I've also added a Robot Party Playlist to the RADIO page, featuring around half an hour of robotic children's songs, and I have more themed playlists in mind such as Robot Rock, Fembot-Funk, Cyber-Punk and Prog-Bots.

Please send me your own robot song suggestions via the comments. If you can't be bothered to trawl through all my daily posts, have a look at the A-Z Index to see what's already been posted.




Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Robot : Looper

Looper hail from Glasgow and are fronted by ex Belle & Sebastian bassist Stuart David. I've been longing to post this beautiful little robo-ditty for ages... but wanted to put it somewhere significant. So here it is as track number 100; My Robot by Looper

*Unfortunately, the charming fan-vid was blocked in the UK, so you'll just have to make do with this:
...which is also now unavailable :(

My Robot is taken from their second LP titled 'The Geometrid' (2000) and also featured on the film 'The Girl Next Door' as well as on the Xbox video game 'Project Gotham Racing'.

Tune in tomorrow for song number 101... the song that will finally make this blog live up to its name!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Worship The Robots : DJ Swamp

Song number 99 comes with a flake & juice in the form of damn good advice... because one day we'll all either have to worship the robots or DIE! Horribly.

Aside from offering essential life prolonging advice, DJ Swamp is more active than an activated activator, having lent his scratching talents to a plethora of artists including Vanilla Ice, Katy Perry, Hanson and Kool Keith. Maybe he should have offered some spelling advice to the so-called 'cool' Keith whilst he was at it? DJ Swamp has also opened for Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers, but not in a gay way. A quick glance at his Wikipedia page suggests that his output is best described as ubiquitous. He's been everywhere and now he's here on 101 Songs About Robots too, which I'm sure will make his mum very proud. With Worship The robots, it's DJ Swamp.

I wonder if they're the same white suited guys that appeared in The Body Electric video?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Scent of a Robot : Pete Miser

Vocalist, turntableist and drummist... er... Peter Miser was once part of the hip hop group Five Fingers of Funk before moving to Brooklyn and embarking on a solo career. This led to him being recruited as part of Dido's touring band, but things soon picked up and Miser has since recorded three solo albums and released a couple of singles... one being Scent of a Robot from 2004. In my humble opinion, rap-hop is at its best when it doesn't take itself too seriously, and I reckon Scent of a Robot definitely ticks that box.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Robot High School : My Robot Friend

I waffled on about My Robot Friend when I posted Sex Machine last month... one man band, New York City, a prolific producer, writer and remixer... real name is Howard and he's made more than one robot song... which isn't surprising given his pseudonym. This one's called Robot high School.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ballarobot : David Zed

Born in the USA but seemingly spending much of his working life in Italy, David Traylor's day job is in film & television as an actor, comedian and voice-over artist... and of course a robot known as Mr Zed. But it's his musical output I'm interested in. This will be David Zed's third and final feature on 101 Songs About Robots... unless of course he releases another robot song. From 1983 is Ballarobot, which is a re-recorded version of his 1980 single Balla Robot.

Here's the original (which is from 1980 and not '81 as stated in the video's title)...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Machine Song : Mother Gong

Founded in 1978, Mother Gong rose like a pigeon from the ashes of the psychedelic pixie group Gong. With Harry Williamson and former space whisperer Gilli Smyth providing the backbone, Mother Gong also featured other ex-Gong members including Didier Malherbe, Daevid Allen and Mike Howlett, as well as appearances from Hawkwind's Nik Turner and Robert Calvert. Their 'Fairy Tales' LP is an excellent listen, as is the first part of their 'Robot Woman' trilogy, from which today's robot song is taken. It's a concept album about a robot housewife who seeks freedom from the daily drudgery of domestic doom. In this song she's being tended to by the Come-Quick Repair man after supposedly breaking down.

* apologies for the poor sound quality... it really is the best I could find.      

Friday, 10 October 2014

Robot : Robin Gibb

Today's robot song comes from Robin Gibb. Born on the Isle of Man, Robin and his brothers (Barry and Maurice) put their musical roots down in Manchester, Lancashire as part of a skiffle group called The Rattlesnakes when Robin was around six years of age. After emigrating to Australia in 1958, The BeeGees emerged and had their first TV appearance in 1960 when Robin was a mere eleven years old... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Taken from Robin Gibb's third solo LP titled 'Secret Agent' is Robot... it's another one of those "I'm not a robot" songs and from its initial synthesised string stabs, it reeks of the nineteen eighties. It's got a voice, electronic drums, funky bass, jangly guitars, over produced vocals, more synthesised string stabs and everything else that I hate about mainstream '80s pop... but this song swings in all the right directions and melds the ingredients into something rather palatable.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Body Electric : Rush

Rush, as most already know are a Canadian rock group with a well earned place in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. This song is from their so-called 'synth' period which (according to Wikipedia) ran from '82 until '89... and probably wasn't their 'best' period. Taken from the 1984 LP 'Grace Under Pressure' is The Body Electric... which I like a lot more than I expected to. It's a great robot song, but that's not the same as a great Rush song, as many fans will surely agree. The video is cheesy but it is a joy to watch with its futuristic setting and dated special effects... and it clearly borrows its final scene from the 70s sci-fi flick THX-1138. Shame those two sexy fembot-cops get electrocuted though   :(

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Helpless Automaton : Men At Work

"Do you come from a land down under?" asked the Aussie one hit wonders back in 1981. To be fair, Men At Work did grace the UK charts on a couple of other occasions, but nothing paralleled the global success of Down Under or its parent LP, 'Business As Usual', from which today's robot song is taken. Helpless Automaton is a punchy piece of pop which I suspect may be a love song disguised as a robot song... or maybe it's one of those human feeling humanoid type songs? Either way it's a cracking robot song and here it is...

Tune in tomorrow for another slice of '80s robotica :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Synthetic Man : Rockets

Bonjour et bienvenue à une centaine et un chansons sur les robots!

Today's robot song is from the French space rockers, Rockets. Formed in 1974, the band remained active until 1986, but according to Wikipedia, they've been back together since the distant future (the year 2000). This track is taken from their 1980 LP titled 'Galaxy', and the performance is also taken from the same year. Thankfully for me, they've chosen to sing in English as opposed to their native Foreign, so without further ado... it's Rockets with Synthetic Man.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Android Attack : The Androids

I'm not sure what to say about this band because information is thin on the ground. They formed in Edinburgh in the mid seventies and according to the description on YouTube, released one single in 1981 titled Robot Riot (I doubt it's the same Robot Riot I posted back in July, but would love to hear it).

This song, Android Attack, is from 1978 and as stated in the credits on the video, this version was recorded around 1980. The details don't really matter because here on 101 Songs About robots it's all about the music. Android Attack is jumpy, punky and ticks all the boxes a good robot song should!

The song and video was uploaded to YouTube by former band member and writer of Android Attack, Craig Herbertson, so maybe, just maybe... he'll shed some light on The Androids.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Metal Gods : Judas Priest

This'll be Judas Priest's second feature on 101 Songs About Robots... but this time it's proper 'Priest' with Rob 'bike shop' Halford on lead vocals. Taken from their iconic 1980 LP, 'British Steel' is Metal Gods: a dystopic nightmare scenario in which man's technological advances evolve into conscious beings, intent on enslaving and/or destroying mankind. You'd think the robots we create would show us a bit of gratitude... but a song about robots being humble and helpful and living harmoniously with their human creators isn't really the stuff of heavy metal. No... it's the music of death, destruction and terror, and that what we've got right here.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fortress Europe : Asian Dub Foundation

I first came across ADF 'back in the day' when I grabbed a copy of Naxalite on 12". It certainly stood out from the crowd with its blend of rap, punk, rock, ragga, dub, D&B and bhangra that flung the senses from pillar to post and back again. ADF emerged out of a community education organisation in Hackney, East London in the early 1990s and released their debut album in 1995, but today's song is taken from their 2003 LP titled 'Enemy of the Enemy'.

Fortress Europe isn't a song about robots, however it does reference robots in the lyrics with "robot guards patrolling the border" and "cybernetic dogs getting closer and closer", so it does pass my relatively strict vetting process for what constitutes a 'robot song'... Plus, the 'cybernetic dogs' reference makes Fortress Europe a nice linky with yesterday's robot song.

Clearly, Fortress Europe also featured on the soundtrack to the video game, N.F.S. Underground.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Robot Dog : MC Chris

I can't believe I actually forgot to post yesterday's robot song... but since I'm the only person on planet earth who's paying any attention whatsoever to this blog, I doubt anyone else noticed... or cared. It's not for you pesky humans anyway... it's to appease our future robot masters and to hopefully save me from whatever dastardly fate they have planned for humanity.

Today's robot song (which should have been yesterday's robot song) follows in the footsteps, or paw prints, of Logan Whitehurst's fabtastic Robot Cat. It's about robot-man's other best friend... Robot Dog. Penned and performred by MC Chris, the nerdcore rap-hop artist, Robot Dog is taken fom his 2004 LP 'Eating's Not Cheating'. In keeping with rap-hop tradition, there is a little bit of swearing, so pump up the volume kids... grown ups might be listening!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Robot Cat : Logan Whitehurst

This is undoubtedly one of my all time favourite robot songs. Robot Cat was written and performed by Logan Whitehurst, who sadly passed away in 2006 aged 'far too young'. The splendid video is fan made, which is my favourite type of video, so I'll give a big shout out to Erin Scott, Justin Scott and Drew Norris whilst raising a glass to the hugely talented Logan Whitehurst.

Tune in tomorrow for another robot song about a robot pet :)