My Robot Friend is a musical and performance art project led by Howard Robot, and aided by various collaborators and co-conspirators (human and otherwise).

Howard Robot began his musical career performing and recording with the New York City band Princess in the late 1990s. The members of the band included Autojulie3000 (violin, keyboard, vocals), Howard Robot (acoustic guitar, bass, vocals), and Miguel Gutierrez (acoustic guitar, bass, violin, keyboard, vocals). Princess almost signed on to the legendary label Too Pure (P.J. Harvey, Stereolab, Mouse On Mars), but they broke up before the contract was inked.

The initial inspiration for My Robot Friend came as the result of a modern dance piece choreographed by Miguel Gutierrez. In 2000, Miguel developed a piece for Le Tigre’s song Deceptacon and asked Howard Robot to dance with him and make some costumes. After several performances of the dance around New York City including at the Performing Garage in SoHo, Le Tigre heard about it and asked the two to perform with them at the now defunct Thread Waxing Space. The energy of the live show and the inspiration of Le Tigre and their music motivated Howard Robot to try his hand at homemade electronic music.

The name „My Robot Friend“ originally came from Howard’s perspective as he began to negotiate the world of electronic music for the first time. It was a sharp contrast to the deeply democratic and often fraught emotional process of working with other people in a band. The more time that he spent in the studio with his computer and other electronic equipment, the more he personified the gear that he worked with. After a while, all of the machines began to feel like… friends. And the process of making music with machines seemed like an approximation of genuine collaboration, enough so that Howard dubbed his musical studio „My Robot Friend,“ and a band name was born. It wasn’t until Howard began to think about live performance that he realized that he too was a robot…

My Robot Friend’s live show is a unique experience. Howard Robot performs in an elaborate, personally-designed light-up suit while interacting with illuminated objects, wireless video cameras, pyrotechnics, and other odd home-made props. From his very first performance, Howard Robot has channeled his love of electronics (in addition to being a musician, he is also a software engineer) and his love of artists such as Devo and Laurie Anderson into a performance art concept.

The central idea of the concept, as posed by My Robot Friend, is that human beings are actually advanced machines — „squishy machines,“ if you will. Howard Robot elevates the concept of a „robot“ to an advanced machine that is programmed to serve humankind. Evolution, the random acts of genetics, and environmental factors have programmed us with a specific set of internal instructions about how we should live. The central goal of our existence is to actualize our internal program of service to humankind. Howard posits that humans actually are robots without any poetic metaphor applied. In a very real way, Howard IS your robot friend.

Oh, I forgot to mention, My Robot Friend’s music is awesome and a lot of fun.

Bearbeitet von messmachine am 26. Jan. 2010, 18:25

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