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[NYC] Robosonic Eclectic: Live Music by Robots and Humans

Apr 26 2007 | 8:56 pm

LEMUR presents
Robosonic Eclectic: Live Music by Robots and Humans
LEMUR’s First Annual Commissioned Works Concert
May 31, June 1st & June 2nd, 2007
3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center

Featuring Pop Musicians They Might Be Giants,
Punk cum New Music Composer JG Thirlwell (Foetus),
Electronic Music Pioneer Morton Subotnick and
Jazz Trombonist and MacArthur Fellow George Lewis,
Performing Live with LEMUR’s Robots

Plus Solo Works for LEMUR Robots by
R. Luke DuBois and J. Brendan Adamson

LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots presents its first
concert series consisting entirely of works commissioned for LEMUR’s
musical robots. The program, Robosonic Eclectic: Live Music by Robots
and Humans, will be performed during a three-night run, from
Thursday, May 31 through Saturday, June 2, 2007, at 8 pm each night.
The series will take place at the Mainstage Theatre at the new
3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center (
Robosonic Eclectic is presented as part of the New York Electronic
Art Festival (NYEAF), a month-long celebration of cutting-edge
electronic music performed at various venues from May 12 through June
10, 2007.

Four commissioned works, each with a live performance component,
serve as the backbone of the evening, alternating with works that the
robots will perform solo. Composer/performers for the live pieces are
John Flansburgh and John Linnell (They Might Be Giants), JG Thirlwell
(Foetus), Morton Subotnick and George Lewis. These works will feature
live performances by the composer(s) of the piece, plus special
guests. Pieces for solo robots by R. Luke DuBois and J. Brendan
Adamson will also be performed by the robot ensemble.

Tickets are $20 and available online now from Brown Paper Tickets at

LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots
LEMUR is a Brooklyn-based group of artists and technologists
developing robotic musical instruments. Founded in 2000 by musician
and engineer Eric Singer, LEMUR creates exotic, sculptural musical
instruments which integrate robotic technology. LEMUR’s philosophy is
to build robots that are instruments as opposed to robots that play
existing instruments.

LEMUR’s growing ensemble includes over 50 robotic instruments.
GuitarBot, an electric stringed instrument, is comprised of several
independently controllable stringed units which can pick and slide
extremely rapidly. ModBots are a large collection of modular
percussion robots in a variety of styles and functions, including
beaters, singing bells, and shakers. The Ill-Tempered Clangier is a
robotic xylophone-like tubular bell instrument which clangs
percussive melodies on forty-four tuned metal pipes. ForestBot is
comprised of a forest of egg-shaped rattles sprouting from long rods
that quiver and sway over onlookers. TibetBot is designed around
three Tibetan singing bowls struck by robotic arms to produce a range
of timbres. Visit LEMUR’s website at

They Might Be Giants (John Flansburgh and John Linnell)
Combining a knack for infectious melodies with a quirky, bizarre
sense of humor and a vaguely avant-garde aesthetic borrowed from the
New York post-punk underground, They Might Be Giants became one of
the most unlikely alternative success stories of the late ’80s and
early ’90s. Musically, the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell
borrowed from everywhere, but their freewheeling eclecticism was
enhanced by their arcane, geeky sense of humor. They Might Be Giants
released their eponymous debut in 1986, and the album became a
college radio hit. Two years later they released Lincoln, which
expanded their following considerably. Their third album, Flood,
worked its way to gold status. They celebrated their 20th anniversary
in summer 2002 with the release of their first children’s album, No!
Early in 2005, Here Come the ABCs and its accompanying DVD were the
band’s first releases for Disney Sound.

JG Thirlwell
The inscrutable JG Thirlwell was dropped on this planet some time ago
to bestow sonic majesty, chaos, violence & beauty and cunning
linguistics on an unsuspecting earth. A Brooklyn-based Australian
ex-pat, Thirlwell has used many names for his many visions: Foetus
(and its many name variations), Steroid Maximus, Clint Ruin,
Wiseblood, DJ OTEFSU, Manorexia and Baby Zizanie. His multitude of
influential recordings under the name FOETUS and variations thereof,
has amassed a rabid world-wide cult following. Over the course of
more than a dozen albums he has stretched from yearning orchestral
soundscapes, meticulously organized chaos, electronic swathes,
blistering big band pastiche, crunching hard rock and even inventing
stupefying collisions of genres and forms with a raw emotion and
irresistible musicality. More recently JG has also branched out into
audio installations (the freq_out project curated by CM Von
Hausswolf, with whom he also conducted an audio workshop at the
Stadelschule in Frankfurt), DJ-ing (as DJ Otefsu), has appeared in an
opera (Der Kastanienball in Munich in 2004, directed by Stefan
Winter), has scored a cartoon series for The Cartoon Network in the
USA (The Venture Brothers), and recently completed a commission for
Bang On A Can. In 2005, he wrote his first commission for Kronos
Quartet, which premiered in 2006.

Morton Subotnick
Known as a grandfather of electronic music, Morton Subotnick is one
of the pioneers in the development of electronic music and an
innovator in works involving instruments and other media, including
interactive computer music systems. Most of his music calls for a
computer part, or live electronic processing; his oeuvre utilizes
many of the important technological breakthroughs in the history of
the genre. In addition to music in the electronic medium, Subotnick
has written for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, theater and
multimedia productions. Currently, Subotnick holds the Mel Powell
Chair in Music at the California Institute of the Arts. He tours
extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as a lecturer and

George Lewis
MacArthur Fellow George Lewis is currently Edwin H. Case Professor of
Music at Columbia, having previously taught at UC San Diego, Mills
College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Simon Fraser
University’s Contemporary Arts Summer Institute. He has served as
music curator for the Kitchen in New York, and has collaborated in
the "Interarts Inquiry" and "Integrative Studies Roundtable" at the
Center for Black Music Research (Chicago). A member of the
Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since
1971, Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM
School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. An active composer,
improvisor, performer and computer/installation artist, Lewis has
explored electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia
installations, text-sound works, and notated forms. His artistic work
is documented in over 120 recordings and has been awarded by a 2002
MacArthur Fellowship, 1999 Cal Arts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and
numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

R. Luke DuBois
R. Luke DuBois is a composer, performer, video artist, and programmer
living in New York City. He holds a doctorate in music composition
from Columbia University and teaches interactive sound and video
performance at Columbia’s Computer Music Center and at the
Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. He has
collaborated on interactive performance, installation, and music
production work with many artists and organizations including Toni
Dove, Matthew Ritchie, Todd Reynolds, Michael Joaquin Grey, Elliott
Sharp, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can, Engine27, Harvestworks, and
LEMUR, and is the director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra for its
2007 season. He is a co-author of Jitter, a software suite developed
by Cycling’74 for real-time manipulation of matrix data. His music
(with or without his band, the Freight Elevator Quartet), is
available on Caipirinha/Sire, Cycling’74, and Cantaloupe music, and
his artwork is represented by bitforms gallery in New York City.

J. Brendan Adamson
Brendan Adamson’s compositions and interactive works are informed by
the superhuman performance requirements of works by Conlon Nancarrow
and others, but employ recently developed capabilities of such
robotic instruments as modern self-playing pianos, recent automated
organs, and musical robots created by LEMUR. As an undergraduate
student, Brendan presented his "impressive compositions" (The New
York Times) at Juilliard’s first ever all-robot-performed concert,
RoboRecital. In addition to numerous performances in the United
States, his music has been performed by robots at international
festivals around the world, including those in Belgium, Poland,
Lithuania, Mexico, and Japan. Brendan holds a Bachelor’s degree in
music composition from the Juilliard School. A native of West Palm
Beach, Florida, past teachers include Nils Vigeland, Christopher
Rouse, Mari Kimura, and Milton Babbitt.

Robosonic Eclectic is presented in collaboration with Harvestworks
Digital Media Arts Center ( Works by George
Lewis and Morton Subotnick are commissioned by LEMUR and Harvestworks
with support from the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production
(MAP) Fund.

LEMUR is supported by generous grants from the Rockefeller
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the New York
State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the Greenwall Foundation, the
Jerome Foundation and Arts International. See
for more information.

For more information, contact For press
information, contact Gayle Snible at

Friday, April 27th
8-11 pm

This month’s acts
* R. Luke DuBois and friend(s): Local new media celeb + >= 1 special guest(s)
* Marek Choloniewski: Krazy sensor music from Krakow
* Ellis & Aguilar Duo: Bass, percussion and electronics

461 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn
Between 9th & 10th Sts.

TRANZDUCER is LEMUR’s music, art and performance series hosted by
Eric Singer, Jamie Allen and Tristan Perich. See and for more details.

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