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Gnashing, thrashing and teeming with enchanting microtones – Machine Guitars is the definitive recorded work of Remko Scha, although the late Dutch artist didn't play a single note himself. Rather, Scha arranged a motorized, rotating wire brush and saber saw in front of suspended electric guitars and let these metallic torrents flow.
Scha was a linguist and generative artist, enamored of computers' capacity for algorithmic creativity. A leading researcher at the University of Amsterdam, he also cofounded the famed arts-space Het Apollohuis in a former cigar-factory in 1980. This haven for intellectuals and underground autodidacts served as the recording studio for most of Machine Guitars (as well as Ellen Fullman's brilliant The Long String Instrument), which originally appeared in 1982 on the small Dutch label Kremlin.
Machine Guitars ranks among the best of the era's minimalist-inspired, avant-garde guitar statements by Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. The semi-autonomous sound-making sculptures also evoke contemporaneous work by Christian Marclay. Scha's work falls somewhere between conceptual art and avant-garde music – a total revelation for minimalists and No Wave fans alike. First-time vinyl reissue on colored LP.