Bob Lee was born and raised in the coal country of Western Pennsylvania. He started playing music on the guitar as a teenager, learning pop, rock and country songs from the radio. Out of school, he moved to Northern California and embarked on a career as a professional sideman, playing bars and social events with a wide variety of bands.
In the early nineties, Bob reinvented himself as -bØb-, an online persona and computer programmer. Using an Atari 1040ST computer, -bØb- wrote algorithmic bots that functioned as musicians, each with its own virtual instrument and limitations. Collectively, these bots formed The Technical Academy. They made musical decisions based on -bØb-'s composition rules, and performed together on their respective instruments in real-time via a Roland U-110 synthesizer.
The Technical Academy plays -bØb-
The Technical Academy plays -bØb- is a collection of twelve experimental compositions, written and performed live by algorithmic bots inside an Atari ST computer.
In 1991, an American computer programmer and pedal steel player known as -bØb- created The Technical Academy, a group of musical bots each with its own virtual instrument and set of human-like limitations. Connecting a rack-mounted synthesizer to his computer, -bØb- hit the Return key and then listened as The Technical Academy improvised in real-time without human intervention. He recorded these performances live and unedited, gathering his favourite pieces to form an album called The Technical Academy plays -bØb-, which he passed around to family and friends.
Now twenty-four years after -bØb- composed the bots, Fixture Records is re-issuing The Technical Academy plays -bØb- as a limited-edition cassette tape and digital download. The re-issue comes with an 11-minute bonus track, excerpts of -bØb-'s original source code, and an illustrated zine about the project.
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
- Side A
- 1. Do Thing (2:34)
- 2. Devils Dance (2:51)
- 3. Drum Dub (1:22)
- 4. Psx4 (4:54)
- 5. Around Five (4:07)
- 6. Poppa (3:10)
- Side B
- 7. Carnival's Closed (1:29)
- 8. Quartz I (2:36)
- 9. Quartz II (3:44)
- 10. Quartz III (2:40)
- 11. Quartz IV (3:43)
- 12. Ohm (5:25)
Bonus Track: Add Primitive Reference (11:24) included with download
C-40 CASSETTE TAPE WITH DOWNLOAD CARD—$8 + shipping
Limited to 150 copies
First 30 copies came with Electro Media Mix, a previously unreleased cassette of -bØb-'s 1969 experiments using primitive electronics, homemade oscillators, and found sound (no longer available).