October 21, 2006

On The Hunt...

by Chris Randall

Dear Lazyweb:

There was a big studio in NYC auctioning some "bottom of the closet" shit in the late 80s (89, I think) and I went, and one of the things they had was this drum machine thing. The tag said "used by Thomas Dolby" but I don't have any proof of that. It was orange, and looked vaguely like a PET computer or TRS80 was a parent. That is to say it was an all-in-one computer lookin' thing. Where the keyboard should be were a couple dozen keys, and the rest of the keyboard (where the rest of the keys should be) was filled in with a plastic fascia.

Any idea as to what this was? If my memory serves me, it was called the Drum-Puter or something similar. One of my dear readers must have run across this beast, or possibly owns one. I don't know why, but it has been scratching my brain lately, and curiosity has over-ridden.



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Oct.21.2006 @ 5:18 PM
Movement Drum Computer. British thing, more famously used by Dave Stewart.

link [www.sonicstate.co...]">link [www.sonicstate.co...]


Oct.21.2006 @ 5:20 PM
Chris Randall
Hmmm. Well, that fits part of the description, but it definitely isn't what I'm talking about; the one I saw only had like 20 keys, and it didn't have all that shit on the side. The screen took up the whole front.

Perhaps what I saw was either a Drum System I or Drum System III?



Oct.21.2006 @ 5:35 PM
Don't know. All the photos I've seen look the same, but I'm not sure what revisions each were. Here's the nicest photo I've ever seen of a system II:

link [recforums.prosoeb.co...]">link [recforums.prosoeb.co...]


Oct.21.2006 @ 5:40 PM
Adam Schabtach
I have this really vague memory of an interview in which he talked about that thing. I think it was actually something that was not designed as a drum machine but he'd wired it up for the task. I think maybe it was a lighting controller of some sort? I'm really not sure.



Oct.21.2006 @ 5:47 PM
A bit of googling led me to a musicthing post in which you mentioned you almost bought Thomas Dolby's Movement Drum Computer in New York in '91 when a studio was having a sale:

link [musicthing.blogot.co...]">link [musicthing.blogot.co...]

Hope this edition of Steve's memoryweb was helpful.


Oct.21.2006 @ 5:48 PM
great picture here: link [recforums.prosoeb.co...]">link [recforums.prosoeb.co...]
it looks as if it has removeable modules for each sound...maybe the one you saw had differently configured modules.

and the eurythmics video:
link [www.youtube.com]">link [www.youtube.com]
definitely a different piece of gear in the vid.


Oct.21.2006 @ 5:55 PM
he had an old PPG sequencer/lighting controller that he wired to his simmons sdsV module to trigger drum sounds. could that be it?

Oct.21.2006 @ 5:56 PM
You could always ask Thomas Dolby. link [blog.thomasdolby.co...]">link [blog.thomasdolby.co...]

Oct.21.2006 @ 6:06 PM
link [www.tmdrfan.com]">link [www.tmdrfan.com]

It's not "Henry" is it? A PPG 240/380 WavComputor.
Unfortunatly the picture is BW so if it is orange or not is hard to see.


Oct.21.2006 @ 6:16 PM
Or maybe it isn't Heny after all. Apparently it ended it's day in an elevator shaft!!

"At this time, I used to do bizarre one-man shows with my PPG 340/380 WavComputor, Henry. It was designed to turn Tangerine Dream's light-show on and off, but I adapted it to play drums for me." The size of a 'fridge, and rather temperamental, it eventually met its end falling down an elevator shaft.


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