In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Segue was commissioned to create an original composition based on audio recordings from the GSC’s laboratory equipment, robots and computers – to make “music” from the noise they produce.

Machine noise is a challenging palette of musical ingredients – sharp, abrasive and whirring sounds are typically unpleasant. For one night, these machines are repurposed as acoustical performers.

In the process of creative “Gene Machines”, recordings were analyzed for their specific frequency profiles and then used to generate melodic or percussive sounds. Together with bass from a Moog synthesizer, the sounds were stretched, manipulated and sequenced into a series of compositions. Each composition is based on the recording from one specific laboratory machine, emphasizing its tone and timbre quality.