A guitarist named Mach, a drummer named Ashura, and a keyboardist named Cosmo may sound part and parcel of your regular rock band. But once you see that this particular guitarist has 78 fingers and 12 guitar picks, the drummer rocks out with 22 sticks, and the keyboard player shoots laser beams out of its eyes, it can only be one thing – Japan’s all-robot rock band “Z-Machines.” The mechanical trio took the stage in Tokyo on Monday with pop girl duo Amoyamo, performing to a select crowd of nearly 100 people – Z-Machines’ first live “gig”.
Z-Machines is one of Zima’s concoctions, although the Japanese alcoholic beverage brand is more famous for the drinkable kind. The robotic rock band is part of Zima’s new marketing push. The minds behind the robotic design are Yoichiro Kawaguchi, IT professor at the University of Tokyo, and designer Naofumi Yonetsuka, who specializes in robotic mechanics. Yonetsuka himself designed and created the guitarist and the drummer, the latter with six arms capable of hitting 22 different percussion points. “What Ashura (the drummer) plays is the equivalent of four people playing drums,” Yonetsuka said during the concert. Kawaguchi said that the keyboard player Cosmo is “in the shape of a super-evolved fish”, designed to accompany the other two musicians in the project.
The group’s debut song is a techno piece called “Post People, Post Party”, written and arranged exclusively for Z-Machines by renowned Japanese electronica icon DJ Tasaka. Tasaka said that initially he had a disco-electro type song in mind, but was challenged when he saw how technically sophisticated the robots were. “So then I wrote a new song, much more complicated, thinking, ‘take that’,” said DJ Tasaka, “but then they were able to play it.” The famous DJ said that the three robots in Z-Machines have the ability to create sounds that are impossible to achieve for three human musicians.
[via The Telegraph]