MY ROBOT FRIEND
My Robot Friend is the over-the-top project of New York music producer & visual arts performer Howard Robot, whose live performances mesmerize with quirky technopop, computer animations, general “new media” topsy-turveydom, and his legendary costume, an interactive suit of blinking and whirring L.E.D. lights and electroluminescent wire.
My Robot Friend is no ordinary electro act. This is no ordinary act full-stop. Whereas science fiction (and indeed robots) have always played a part in the presentation and mythology of techno and electronic music, the figure on stage is far from being cliché. The show is unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed before: a light-up visual performance art spectacle that has to be seen to be believed!
My Robot Friend live is an unsettling experience. It is instantly apparent that anything could, and probably will, happen. In fact My Robot Friends presence on stage, and the wonderfully subversive music that accompanies it, appears dangerously edgy.
My Robot Friend’s album ‘Hot Action!’ spent several months in the CMJ charts and reached the top 20 electronic albums in iTunes international sales charts. He has been short-listed in Rolling Stone magazine, and his song “We’re the Pet Shop Boys” was actually covered by the Pet Shop Boys (and more recently/absurdly, Robbie Williams!). Tracks have appeared on compilations on labels like Mute, Ladomat, Soundslike and Ministry of Sound, Gammon Records, Mogul Electro, Soma Quality Recordings…
He has also worked with several artists including Alison Moyet (Yazoo), Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500), Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons), Crasta Yo, Matmos, Steril, Zombie Nation and has been remixed by Modeselektor, Stereogamous, Tommie Sunshine, The Juan MacLean, Vector Lovers and many more.
Playing out social stereotypes of robots, My Robot Friend humorously enables his audience to consider how technology interacts with human emotion as evoked in popular song: alienation, fear, and most importantly, love. More clues can be derived from listening to the robots creative, other-worldly music. The seeds of a fondness for synth-pop as well as well-crafted rock are evident. Yet this man-machine is clearly programmed to create electronic music with a bite.
Some of the latest photo’s are included here. They are from My Robot Friend, performing live at Studenterhuset. 24th September 2011, Aalborg, Denmark. More photo’s from My Robot Friends Danish tour can be found here: http://www.nuno-alexandre.com/archives/3364
Other press photo’s can be found here: http://myrobotfriend.com/mrf_photos.html
All the albums can be listened to here: http://myrobotfriend.com/mrf_music.html
SELECTED REVIEWS & ARTICLES
Rolling Stone Magazine: “By day, Howard Rigberg is a mild-mannered computer programmer. But by night he is My Robot Friend, performing electronic music in a self-designed suit (“I have a couple of different penises that I wear,” he says. “The one that shoots sparks is the really popular one”). Influenced by bands such as Le Tigre, Devo and Chicks on Speed, he has become one of New York’s most beloved live acts, with such excellent synth-pop songs as “We’re the Pet Shop Boys.” And he’s big in Germany — surprise, surprise.” – Rob Seffield
PitchFork.com: “We were going to save this for Pick Of The ‘Fork, but it was just too good: “‘One More Try’ embraces its own superficiality with restraint and simplicity, and in doing so becomes a powerful prophylactic against all things anguished and complicated.” Congratulations, My Robot Friend: You’ve officially written a Magnum opus.” – On PitchFork’s top tracks of the year.
EdingburghGuide.com: “Upon leaving Cabaret Voltaire, having just witnessed the spectacle that was My Robot Friend, I believe my first words were: “Well…that was totally AWESOME!” Within the confines of this review, I shall reveal why.[...]“
PopMatters.com: “I have a feeling that there might just be some hipsters out there who don’t understand just how cool My Robot Friend actually is. Well, let’s put it this way: how many artists do you know who could not only pull off a dead on Pet Shop Boys pastiche entitled “We’re the Pet Shop Boys”, but succeed in getting the actual, real live Pet Shop Boys to do a cover of it?” – Tim O’Neil
Wired.com: “New York based My Robot Friend, consisting of Howard Robot and his fantastic tools. Howard plays an eclectic show that borders on performance art. It’s full of pyrotechnics, wireless video & illuminated objects. Not to mention his homemade suit, armored with LED lights. My Robot Friend produces a sound and experience that pushes the stigma of one man bands to the limit with the use of unique electronics and well written songs[...]“ – Curtis Silver
Splendid Magazine: “It takes balls the size of watermelons to create a singular vision this gloriously fucked up. Howard Robot, as he calls himself, is the brain behind My Robot Friend, an electronic performance artist who is already an underground legend in New York and beyond. He’s bold, innovative, intuitive and impossibly crude, but not without purpose.[...]“ – Justin Kownacki
SakenStir.co.uk: “Just recently, I’ve been bombarded by (excellent) music of a darker hue. Now I love ‘dark’ but occasionally it’s nice to listen to something lighter, something even faintly humorous, and if it’s distinctive, all the better. Welcome to My Robot Friend… ‘Robot High School’ opens in mystical electronic disco manner, with blips and muffled beats, before opening out into super-melodic song that mixes dark and light very cleverly.[...]“
Rainydawg.org: “Hot Action – Did this album please me? For damn sure. And as predictable as I assumed it would be, I was surprisingly SURPRISED!!! The cuts on this album are from the future –innovative, idealistic, intelligent – and truly establish a feel and concept that at least I am unfamiliar with. So what can you call it when you tell all your in-the-know scene friends about My Robot Friend?[...]“
KEXP.org: “My Robot Friend is a New York-based musical/performance art project led by Howard Robot. His 3rd album is a consistently winning set of catchy electro-pop with a bit of acoustic guitar strumming and some emotionally vulnerable lyrics adding some welcome warmth to the proceedings. Special guests include Alison Moyet and Luna’s Dean Wareham.” 2/8/2010 -Don Yates
WonkaVisionMagazine.com: “… My Robot Friend promised that their new album would be both “ground breaking and catchy.” The band lived up their promise and delivered something fun and truly unique.[...]
AlisonMoyet.com: My Robot Friend and beyond? Really loved the recent ‘Waiting’ track with My Robot Friend and was wondering how it came about and how you worked on it? Would you be up for doing more of these? Is that two questions? If so, perhaps I can drop some of the punctuation and make it one really long sentence? He had talked a couple of times but it was when this idea came through that I was up for it. I wanted to work with electronica again and it was at the right time for me. He sent me the track and I went to a studio when he was in town and sang it a couple of times. Simples. I would certainly like to do more.
SoundVenue.com: “My Robot Friend – The Post-Pop Sexmachine![..}“