Drum Machine Vid

"Drum Machine" [Quicktime removed -- see embedded .mp4 version]

- tom moody 1-17-2006 11:04 am

That's great, very trancy and funny
- Thor Johnson (guest) 1-17-2006 6:26 pm

couldn't get this to work...
- anonymous (guest) 1-18-2006 1:58 am

oh man, this is great. the track is fantastic - had you posted it before? not sure it this is what you were going for, but for me it immediately reads with a bedroom (mad) sound scientist kind of vibe - equal parts melancholy and scientific experiment / precision.
- mbs (guest) 1-18-2006 11:02 am

Thanks, Thor and mbs. No, I hadn't posted the music before. I mentioned to you (mbs) that I was thinking about doing a vid where the content was just shots of the tools that produced the sounds.

The genesis of this was, this drum machine is completely hands on; it has 8 channels (snare, clap, cymbals, etc) each with 9 parameter knobs. I tried to come up with the most un-drumlike settings the machine could produce, and then wrote a tune with them.

I have recorded the track as a stand alone stereo track and will post it soon.
- tom moody 1-18-2006 11:33 am

I like this a lot.
- sally mckay 1-18-2006 7:16 pm

me too / off topic :

Composer Thomas Dimuzio has taken this classic rock tune, reversed it, cut it up into quarter-notes and then reassembled it in forward order to retain the melody. Dimuzio claims that the resulting file contains exactly 666 regions. Anyone want to verify this?

- bill 1-18-2006 7:31 pm

I could, but then my head would burst into flames.
- tom moody 1-18-2006 7:54 pm

Very cool, and again, doing more with less. It also has a nice song structure which can be difficult to do when you're not working with traditional harmonic or melodic content. The sounds remind me of playing with a Simmons SDS5 back in 1985; you'd turn the knobs in a way the designers never intended and get these crazy boooooyeeeeeeeoooooow effects straight out of the "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack. It's interesting that those sounds are much more acceptable in 2006; it's also interesting that someone has devoted the time to producing a software replica of the old Simmons-style electronic replica of actual drum sounds.
- G.K. Wicker (guest) 1-19-2006 1:54 am

Thanks. The online writing I found about the Simmons was pretty funny. Seems it flopped big time.
- tom moody 1-19-2006 2:19 am

Simmons drums probably weren't a huge commercial success, which is amazing considering they were in nearly every music video made between 1981 and 1986! Simmons drums were used on lots of great records, but not usually with the booooyeeeeeeoooow sound. To hear the Simmons used well, give a listen to King Crimson's "Three Of A Perfect Pair". Bruford plays them on nearly every track using a kind of dead, flat sound that really suits the songs on that record. Another great example is Missing Persons' tragically overlooked second record, "Rhyme and Reason".
- G.K. Wicker (guest) 1-19-2006 6:01 am

This is from the Sonic State site:

It was the first proper electronic drum kit. The hexagonal riot shield pads broke drummer's rists and helped to define the early eighties. The factory sounds became so unfashionable that ten years after it's fall from grace the Simmons kit is still ignored by analogue revivalists. However what should not be ignored is that the standard module contains five independent analogue synthesisers with a uniquely strange voice archetecture designed for drum sounds - the sort of sounds that you just can't get out of an analogue poly synth, and don't even come that easily from a modular. Don't get me wrong this is not a powerful synthesiser, but the sounds it does make it makes well. Also being designed for drummers it's very quick to set up.

Comments About the Sounds: It's getting to the end of East Enders and you know any second dum, dum, dum, du-du-du. Thats the classic Simmons sound that sent the company out of business. Furtunately you don't have to use it.
I'm listening to 3 of a Perfect Pair and to be honest all I can hear is Chapman stick--oh wait, yeah, on Sleepless there's that dead flat sound. Got it.

The Vermona I used is based mostly on the 808, I think, which was probably just a refinement of the Simmons with an onboard pattern sequencer.

- tom moody 1-19-2006 6:26 am


- tom moody 1-19-2006 6:29 am

man, that has got to be one of the most boring things i have ever seen...
- anonymous (guest) 1-19-2006 5:08 pm

scintillating contribution anon.
- bill 1-19-2006 7:54 pm

This is really good.
- Art Fag City (guest) 1-19-2006 8:00 pm

Hmmm, that photo doesn't look familiar -- maybe it wasn't an SDS5 that I used back in 1985...

Ahhh yes, I used a later version, the SDS8; here's a good photo and some very 80s looking ad copy:


The pads were definite wrist-breakers; if I remember correctly, they were rubber over plywood which is much tougher on the bones than a nice flexible drumhead. Your hands would ricochet off of those things at warp speed. This site has lots of cool shots off old Simmons gear, make sure to check out their ubersystem, the SDX:


Several 80s synth makers poured their excess dollars into R&D for high-end be-all end-all systems and bankrupted themselves. PPG Realizer anyone?


Someday when I win the lottery I'll have a museum full of this stuff :-)

- G.K. Wicker (guest) 1-19-2006 8:26 pm

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