Friday, 13 November 2015

Robot Daydream : Solstis & Oddeeo

I've been doing a bit of digging on SoundCloud and have found a couple of robot themed songs to share. Here's one of them. I've spent several moments researching the artists Solstis & Oddeeo and there's not a lot of information about them; Oddeeo fiddles about with vocoder stuff (or whatever you kids call it these days), so I guess Solstis is responsible for the music. The track Robot Daydream is possibly inspired by Porter Robinson's Sad Machine, but it's the opening moments of Robot Daydream that remind me of a chilled house track from the early 90s and although it's obvious, I really can't put my finger on it. There's nowt worse than an ear-worm you can't put your finger on!

The best thing about streaming from soundcloud is (apart from the quality) the comments on the song's timeline... "dud i love those beats" says Mr Fox. Sick Souls yells "ROBOTS!" whilst Zillax mumbles "OK start i guess" beneath his breath.  Another poster claims it "Remembers me of FinalFantasy 13 :)" and others say stuff like 'brilliant', 'amazing', '<3', 'great music' and "Beat is sick! I love this terribly!" (what a jolly nice thing to say), but not as nice as copacetic7's remark "bee-yooo-teee-FULL" (adding four exclamation marks so the comment really hits home). I often despair at the grammar that some youngsters chose to use these days. A few commentators state that Robot Daydream reminds them of the aforementioned Sad Machine by Porter Robinson... but all remains civil until Zac009 trolls in and spoils the party by shouting "you dick,,, this is sad machine kick, synth, similar voice, drums, so fuck you fan boy" (I'd better add some exclamation marks on Zac009's behalf) !!!
All I can say to Zac009 is "Well see about that!"

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Build The Robots : Dr Steel

Remember remember the 4th of November; mischief, mayhem and 'bots! Yep, on this very day, back in 'my' day we'd be looking forward to Mischief Night... knock-a-door-run, garden creeping, hedge hopping and many other subversive shenanigans. Since the US inspired trick or treat thing gained a foothold on these shores, Mischief Night is now little more than a distant memory... but I'd welcome its return in a heartbeat. We didn't give our neighbours the option of 'trick' or 'treat' because Mischief Night was just 'trick' whether they liked it or not... we didn't want sweets in return for doing nothing. We could have bought sweets if we wanted them, but instead we spent our money on half a dozen eggs and lobbed them at doors! In my youth, such mischievous acts seemed daring, brave and reckless... but with hindsight, they were lame, stupid and pointless. If we do see a return of Mischief Night, I hope it will involve something a little more creative than knocking on a door and running away... something like... let me think... umm... err... building a robot army to take over the world... and it seems the dastardly Dr Steel is planning just that (although he may not have pencilled in November 4th as his invasion date).

Taken from his 2001 album titled Dr Steel 2: Eclectic Boogaloo, it's Build the Robots!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Machines : Lothar & the Hand People

First... I'd like to apologise for my prolonged absence from 101 Songs About Robots. I got focused on work and enjoyed doing as little as possible when not at work, then I found myself unemployed and a dark grey shroud of glumness enveloped me. I had so much planned for my robot songs blog in 2015 and now it's November, there's not much of it left! I promised you a Jonathan Coulton-athon which is yet to materialise, but whilst you're thinking 'who the flip is Jonathan Coulton?', here's a lovely little gem I heard on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone last night.

Lothar & the Hand People were a psychedelic space rock group that hailed from Denver, Colorado and were active from 1965 until 1970. Machines is a robotic cover of a song originally released by the British beat-popsters Manfred Mann in 1966 and penned by one Mort Shuman. Yes, the very same Mort Shuman who also co-wrote Elvis' Viva Las Vegas, The Hollies' Here I Go Again, The Drifters' Sweets for my Sweet and the slightly creepy Little Children by Billy J Kramer.

This version of Machines featured on Lothar & the Hand People's 1968 d├ębut LP titled 'Presenting... Lothar & the Hand People' and was released as a 7" single in 1969. Of the three versions I've heard today, I think this one is my favourite.

Saying that, I really quite like the clockwork clankiness of Manfred Mann's 1966 original...

...and then in 1980, Shuman released his own version complete with robo-voice, a fat funky bass line and a good slice of 80s over-production that makes it sound like a hundred other songs from the era that we love and hate in equal measure. It does have a nice picture of Mort on the cover though.