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Remko Scha dies at 70

Guitar innovator and algorithmic artist dies in the Netherlands

Guitar innovator and algorithmic artist Remko Scha has died in the Netherlands at the age of 70. Scha explored methods of making music without direct human intervention, most notably on his 1982 album Machine Guitars, where guitars are played by sabre saws or rotating wire brushes. Recorded in Eindhoven and New York, it was described by Byron Coley in The Wire 231 as one of "the definitive modern NYC guitar work[s]", and its influence can be heard in the music of Eli Keszler, Alan Courtis and many more. Scha later went on to 'form' The Machines: a group of motors, drills and electric saws which played a collection of electric guitars.

Scha had a longrunning involvement in the arts in the Netherlands. Alongside Paul Panhuysen he founded Het Apollohuis, a former cigar factory in Eindhoven which became a space for performance, art and music in 1980. It played host to performers such as Ellen Fullman, whose The Long String Instrument LP was recorded there in the venue’s first year. Scha had been based in Amsterdam since the late 1980s, where he was Professor of Computational Linguistics and a member of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam. He also founded the Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam. The IAAA produced a performance of Scha's mechanical guitars in the Netherlands town Leiden this November, and intends to keep the instruments on the road in the years to come.