Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Here’s a rainy day 2 Live Crew remix i did for fun…

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Dedicated to Erik S, Petey G, Meri D, and Jessie P.

Dance Like a Munchkin

Dance Like a Munchkin

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Usual Suspects:  Linndrum, SDSV, Roland TR 808, Arp 2600, Roland Jupiter 6

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Well, their operators may!

Another Drum Machine induced article but from NPR:

gimme the beat box ( the-journey-of-the-drum-machine )

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“About 10 years ago, a disgruntled pianist in Los Angeles named John Wood began a popular bumper sticker campaign with the slogan, “Drum Machines Have No Soul.” Not everyone was convinced, including producer Eric Sadler.

“Drum machines don’t run themselves,” Sadler says. “It’s the people who put into the drum machines that give the drum machines soul, to me. I’ve definitely given some drum machines some soul.”

Beat Box
Beat Box

A Drum Machine Obsession

by Joe Mansfield

Hardcover, 205 pages purchase

Sadler was part of The Bomb Squad, the production team behind Public Enemy, which used drum machines — among many other devices — to help shift the sound of pop music in the late ’80s.

Here’s the thing: The earliest drum machines were never intended to be studio recording devices. Take Wurlitzer’s 1959 Sideman, one of the first commercially available drum machines. It used vacuum tubes to create its percussive sound and was intended for organ players who perhaps didn’t want to pay a drummer to join their lounge act.

“It’s about 2 feet and some change tall,” says Joe Mansfield, author of the new book Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession. “It’s maybe a foot and a half wide, and it looks like something that would belong in an old, wood-paneled library to me. It’s a distinctive-looking thing; at first look, you wouldn’t think it would be a drum machine.”

Drum machines were still largely novelties throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but musicians slowly began to play around with them, says Dante Carfagna. He’s the producer behind the recent compilation album Personal Space, which examines early pop experiments with drum machines and other electronics.

“Perhaps the artist didn’t have a band, so they tried to re-create that band with the electronics around them: a drum machine, a synthesizer, maybe a guitar,” Carfagna says. “I think it might be a function of loneliness in a very strange way.”

Then, in 1971, Sly & the Family Stone recorded There’s a Riot Going On, one of the first hit albums to prominently feature a drum machine — a Maestro Rhythm King. Mansfield grew up marveling at how Stone deployed the machine’s tinny beats. “That record used the Maestro Rhythm King in a way, in a studio, that I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be used. It was amazing,” he says.

By the early ’80s, major pop acts had latched on to drum machines in a big way — but many just used the machines’ built-in rhythms, as in Hall and Oates’ 1981 hit “I Can’t Go for That.” Around the same time, such hip-hop pioneers as Grandmaster Flash began to make beat boxes a prominent part of rap music production.

A few years later, newer beat boxes were sampling actual drums, creating a harder, punchier sound that hip-hop producers grabbed onto, says the Bomb Squad’s Sadler. The Oberheim DMX was one of the most popular.

“All the rhythm machines before was kind of little tight sounds. It didn’t have that sound that sounded like a real kick drum, or a bass drum,” Sadler says. “With the DMX, it was like, wow, this sounds more like real drums to me.”

But when it comes to punch, no drum machine has been more popular than Roland’s TR-808, debuted in 1980. For Mansfield and other musicians, the 808 stands out for its signature kick drum, with a low-end boom you can feel in your bones. “It’s definitely something that would get people’s attention,” he says.

Today most producers simply re-create the sounds of an 808 using software rather than fussing with hardware that few thought would survive 30 years of use. But Carfagna suggests there’s still a market out there for the original machines and their unique sonic personalities.

“Those sounds do have a certain character now, which echo a different era. Like, the snare drum on the Rhythm King sounds nothing like the snare drum on the 808,” Carfagna says.

As for Mansfield, his Beat Box book includes only a fraction of his collection — a collection that keeps growing. “Today, I purchased a machine called Elgam Match-12 I’ve been looking for for a little bit,” he says. “I happened to find it on the German eBay site.”

And so, the beat box goes on.”

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Another day another Linndrum article!

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The Linndrum was in The Guardian

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What are they? The first drum machines to feature digital sampling. Before the release of Linn’s LM-1 Drum Computer in 1980, early drum machines could only synthesise drum sounds out of bursts of white noise or sine waves. The LM-1 and Oberheim’s DMX sampled actual drum hits, which could be programmed and manipulated with lovely knobs.

Who uses them? The LM-1 was elite gear. Only 525 machines were ever made, and inventor Roger Linn managed to flog them by dragging around a little cardboard-box prototype to showbiz parties. Notching up pre-orders with Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder, the Drum Computer became a bourgeois must-have object, and was quickly put to use in hit records from the Human LeagueGary Numan, and, most notably, Prince. The DMX, released a year later, became synonymous with booming hip-hop: producer Davy DMX loved the machine so much he not only named himself after it (along with DMX Krew and, of course, DMX), but he built Run DMC‘s whole sound around it. Check out these Spotify playlists for the DMX and the LM-1.

How do they work? The Linn stored twelve 8-bit samples, which could be individually tuned: kick, snare, hi-hat, cabassa, tambourine, two toms, two congas, cowbell, clave and handclap (but no cymbals!). The DMX boasted 24 drum sounds and a bunch of pseudo-humanising gimmicks such as rolls and “flams“, as well as a pre-MIDI synchronisation doohicky.

Where do they come from? These machines were a huge leap on from the first stand-alone drum machine, the PAiA Programmable Drum Set, which was sold in 1975 as a build-your-own kit. Roger Linn credits Toto drummer Steve Pocaro as the man who first suggested the brainwave of sampling real drums on to a computer chip.

Why are they classic? The DMX and LM-1 established drum machines as credible, powerful instruments – previously they had been dismissed as toys.

What’s the best ever DMX/LM-1 song? Drum machine aficionados regard Prince as some sort of Hendrix of the LM-1; see his The Time classic, 777-9311. The crashing DMX in New Order’s Blue Monday takes the prize for Oberheim.”

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Cool!

Sheila E wiki

Sheila E Reddit AMA

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Kinda awesome, sleepy yet stimulating…

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