Akai’s recent 2.8 software offers some powerful new features – and a revised MPC Live II could be a sweet spot in hardware, with expanded connectivity and built-in speakers. And finally, you get MIDI multi capability, like on the classic MPCs. Here’s the rundown. The demands for a digital drum machine/production workstation are now pretty […]
Sugar Bytes has announced the release of DrumComputer, a drum instrument that combines classic and modern synthesis with flexible modulations and luxurious sequencing. DrumComputer features multiple sound engines and synthesis layers, various effects, a flexible modulation matrix, and over 400 global presets and 450 engine presets. Intelligent randomizers, elegant pattern editing and import of your […]
Plugin Boutique is offering a 95% Black Friday discount on the Boom drum machine instrument by AIR Music Technology. Boom features a slick modern interface that pays homage to the most popular vintage drum machines of the past. Boom has been used on many famous projects since its launch, ranging from hit albums, feature films […]
Elektron just revised their Analog Four and Analog Rytm MKI/MKII OSes. Finally: MIDI out. Wait, that’s cool: per-track scale, powerful macros, and more.
A few features really stand out here.
First, finally you get sequencer MIDI out. Now, that’s been a long wait, but it at last brings the Elektron sequencer workflow and conditional trigs and whatnot to all the other stuff in your studio.
There’s some other cool stuff in this update, though:
Scale per track: Borrowed from the Digitakt and Digitone, this makes even more sense as an advanced feature on the Analog line.
Parameter randomization: You can do this instantly across a whole page, and there’s revert if you don’t like it.
Multiple performance macros, one knob: The Quick Performance Control knob now can be assigned multiple macros. I’d say Elektron are gradually improving their live performance features, and it’s a welcome move.
Graphics have been improved, too, and there are various bug fixes and other little details.
Loopmasters is offering a 60% discount on the Drum Tools 02 sample pack by Wave Alchemy featuring a collection of over 4,000 drum samples. A labour of love spanning 2 years, Drum Tools 02 delivers over 4,000 ground-breaking electronic drum samples and percussive hits, each carefully crafted by hand from the ground-up using a huge […]
Reverb has announced that Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is launching a shop in a few days, offering various gear for a good cause. The shop will feature synths and effects from Moog, Roland, Dave Smith, and more, all owned and many signed by Gore. The musician, producer, and songwriter will be selling dozens of […]
Samples From Mars has announced the release of SP 909 From Mars, a collection of Roland TR-909 drum sounds sampled into the E-mu SP-1200 sampler. The SP1200 is one of the only samplers that can actually make the 909 sound better – or at least, different, in a way that may suit your productions better. […]
Maybe they’re feeling generous after getting bought by Etsy for $275 million. But whatever the reason, now you can have some 50 libraries of classic drum machine samples, for free, from Reverb.com.
Rare, popular, iconic, forgotten – it’s the full gamut, from Suzuki RPM-40 and Hammond Auto-Vari 64 to, you know, 909.
I would say this would hurt some other sample library providers, but frankly there’s a ton of stuff in there that I just have never seen sampled, so it’s more like – get ready for some tyranny of choice in your next drum kit assembly.
No idea how long this is going, so worth grabbing now:
Yes, yes, Detroit techno and all that. This 808 Day, Roland is giving NYC and hip hop some props – by shining the spotlight on pioneer Larry Smith.
Don’t get me wrong – the TR-808 certainly feeds my techno addiction. But part of what made Roland’s drum machine such a legend was that it crossed genres. And even as today’s club kids focus on techno when they dream of the 808, the 808 was also shaped by hip-hop, whose producers embraced the Roland box just as it did the MPC (think Public Enemy) and E-MU (Amen break, hello SP-1200).
Larry Smith is one of the visionaries you can thank for that, so it’s fitting Roland make him and his personal 808 the star of today:
In fact, I have to say, as a child of the 80s, this was my first exposure to the 808 as a kid. (And wow, so the sound of this exact box – crazy.) I absolutely remember that sense of what the hell is that strange sound the first time I heard Run DMC’s self-titled debut album; maybe you do, too. And its minimalist, Japanese electronic detachment is the perfect timbre to accompany rap and let the words stand on their own. But I think you can experience that now, even, listening to it today. Everything Larry Smith did has a sense of raw, elemental futurism. It practically begs you to strip down your 2019 production and get back to basics as much as in the mid 80s, before anyone had to worry about going VST crazy or applying some kind of weird AI-powered mastering.
And what a resume – Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Run DMC, Whodini, Jimmy Spicer, Russell Simmons.
The other interesting aspect of Roland’s video here is that Smith was literally able to pass along some of his aesthetic by passing on this very TR-808 to Larry Smith, Jr., and Rashad Smith. Smith in turn goes on to be beat craftsman to the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Uptown Records, and Bad Boy Records, a production powerhouse spinning the DNA for a lot of the sounds to come. The machine itself, as son Larry Smith, Jr. tells it, is part of history: “This my father’s original TR-808…This machine is Run DMC’s first two albums, all of Whodini, and also Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys.”
But given the 808 is a household name, and for too many people this whole playlist might be news, let’s go ahead and declare this Larry Smith Day, too, while we’re at it. Part of what made the 808 a force was that he shaped it into a unique sound through some extraordinary musical collaborations: