Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: May 2007

May 25, 2007


by Chris Randall

Adam and I got our MachineDrums today. After spending a couple hours fooling about, here are my initial thoughts:

1. If you have been assembling drums in a DAW for, say, five to seven years now, it's actually kind of difficult to think of ways to use a drum machine that aren't annoying. Like, there's no way I'd have the patience to assemble a song in the MD. No way.

2. I'm not sure what the hell everyone is going on about "it sounds all IDM and shit." Not really. It sounds like a drum machine. It actually sounds like several different drum machines. I was able to get fairly stonking prog house beats out of it in short order, without using any outboard. (MachineDrum right in to Rosetta.) I was also able to get some pretty convincing Flip Mode shit going quite easily. I will happily admit that if one wanted to do IDM type things, this would be pretty good at it.

3. As a drum synth, it is fairly sophisticated. I can't, off the top of my head, think of another drum machine that is as easy to program as this one, at least as far as the synthesis portion goes.

I'll put up a more sophisticated review on Sunday, I suppose. But initial impressions are much the same as they were when I got a run-through at Analogue Haven last year. This is an excellent drum machine if you like that sort of thing; in fact, I think it may be the best drum machine ever made. It does have a little crispy critter edge to it, but just remember: 9 out of 10 hip hop producers have never even seen a real 808. They all use the MPC sample set. So relax.

May 25, 2007

On the bright side, it isn't named iSession, at least...

by Chris Randall

A few days ago went live, and I just got around to browsing the site. It seems to be fairly comprehensive, and likely will be a good resource for someone like me that needs odd instrumentation that I can't play myself quite frequently. I'll give it a shot when I start my next CR record. I'd make a page for myself, but they don't have a "dilettante" category so I might be out of luck.

Thoughts? Why does the only bazouki player on the site not have any audio samples? Is the fact that you programmed drums on a Kip Winger album something you want to put on your resume? Etc.

May 22, 2007

My Top Artists...

by Chris Randall

You can pretty much see where my tastes lie by looking at something like this. Now that I've been running the Last FM thing for several months, it has a pretty good handle on my overall tastes. It is no doubt heavily affected by the fact that I do most of my recreational music listening in my car. That is where I listen to new stuff, at any rate. I think that if my car listening was included in the list, Grinderman, Killing Joke, and Agent Orange (my most common driving artists, lately) would probably be in the top 7.

If you're curious, that "Stax/Volt" reference is the Stax/Volt singles collection, Vol. 1, a nine-CD box set with every Stax/Volt single up to 1968. I should really pick up the second volume.

May 22, 2007

If I could save time in a bottle...

by Chris Randall

...I'd take that bottle, once it was suitably full, and conk Jim Croce right on the head with it.

In any event, my sister and her family are visiting from Belgium for the week, so I'll be largely entangled in family matters for the nonce, and thus not posting with my usual piss and vinegar. That being the case, you can consider this an Open Thread. Today's subject: the Elektron MachineDrum. Discretion was soundly thrashed by valor, and we ordered a pair of these from Analogue Haven; they should be here in a day or two. Do you have one? What should amaze me? What should astound me? What will bemuse or befuddle me? Is it, in actual fact, Full Of Techno??

May 19, 2007

Maybe a little _too_ vintage...

by Chris Randall

I was doing my normal Saturday search for vintage compressors (it's a problem I have; seriously, I just can't stop) and I came across something I've _never_ seen before, which is unusual enough to note. This little JL Warren t00b comp looks like a boatload of fun. Auction is here and try to ignore the part where he says "it's for you to find out how the 1950's will impact your sound." I don't know this guy, and I don't vouch for this auction.

Anyone ever use one of these before? Is it superfly, or is it superlame?


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