The Machines           IAAA Music Department             Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam     

The Machines

Twice strings on overstrung guitar constant speed (high)


Released on an audio cassette published by the Dutch art magazine Artzien in September 1980. Other sound art on the same cassette by Hezy Leskly, Dirk Larsen, Harry de Kroon, Ulises Carrion, Michael Gibbs, Inez Vandeghinste, Robert Joseph & Pier van Dijk.

Accompanying text and photographs in: Artzien 2, 9 (September 1980). Artzien was edited by Michael Gibbs and Harry Ruhé.


The Machines don't like emotion.
They like sound.

The Machines don't like expression.
They like noise.

The Machines don't think.
They hit their strings.

The Machines play loud.
The machines play fast.
The Machines play for hours at a time.

No electronics.
No synthesizers.
No computers.
No people.

The Machines are: Machine #1, Machine #2, Machine #3, Machine #4, Machine #5, Machine #6. They play several kinds of amplified guitars and percussion. The Machines first performed in 1966 and 1967, when they took part in the "concerts without neglected parameters" by The New Electric Chamber Music Ensemble, together with artists and musicians such as  Remko Scha, Toon Prüst, Piet Verdonk, Rik Seur, Moniek Toebosch and Willem Breuker. New Electric played most of the main Dutch art museums, rock clubs and jazz venues during that period. After many years underground, The Machines formed their own band in the late seventies, stimulated by the development of the punk and no wave scenes in London and New York. In this new line-up, they played an emerging avant-garde circuit which has ramifications from New York (TR3, A's) to Eindhoven (Poort van Kleef, Baarsstraat Fabriek).

2, 9 (September 1980), p. 24.

Remko Scha
Automatic Music

In early 1980 I built an experimental installation with motors and guitars which can be employed for automatic concerts, where the structure of the music is not determined by a composer or musician, but by the laws of mechanics. Installations of this sort were successfully demonstrated in live concerts in the Netherlands and abroad, and documented by audio-tape recordings.
The installations may involve various combinations of motors and attachments. One of the most typical set-ups can be described as follows: A piece of cord is attached to an electrically driven uniformly rotating axis. The cord is swirled around and periodically hits one or more strings of an electric guitar. The exchange of impulse and energy which occurs at the moments of impact creates complex patterns of standing waves in the rotating cord and in the guitar strings. The oscillatory motion in the rotating cord creates a syncopated rhythmical pattern in the guitar tones. Melodies emerge within the series of harmonic overtones of the fundamental tone of each guitar string.
Depending on the details of the installation, the resulting music may belong to very different genres, ranging from mystical trance drones to aggressive no wave rock.

Artzien 2, 9 (September 1980), p. 24.

Machine #1: Fan Motor.

Motor with Rotating Grind Stone.


Machine #2:
Motor with Rotating String.

Machine #5:
Fan motor with string, playing electric guitar.

Early Machines at the Apollohuis, Eindhoven.
Studio photographs by Peter Cox,
first published in Artzien 2, 9 (September 1980), p. 25.

© 1980 Peter Cox