A simple setup, more focus

Some time ago I have decided to take a smaller set of instruments to make my music with. The bigger the setup, the more problems I have making decisions. It might be fun to know what I have chosen to work with. First choice, an old samper, the Emu ESI 4000. Floppy disks operated. Who still knows what these things are?

A drummachine, The under appreciated  Elektron Machine drum and a small selection of eurorack modules and a sequencer. The eurorack is basically a single voice mono synth and a reverb.

To record and arrange everything I have made an Ableton template with 8 tracks with some effects, which I will not change. This gives me some sound design options after recording.

The simple idea is, I design a patch, make loops in the sampler, record them in Ableton and divide them over a maximum of 8 tracks. Then I will try and make something interesting with it. I will take a fixed amount of days to try and make a track out of it. Whether it is a finished product or not, I will publish the result.

That last thing might seen a bit strange, but if I don’t publish it, I will not get used to sharing things. When I write a blog I have no problem of hitting the publish button. I might get over my fear of sharing my music this wat.

Music gear favorites – Elektron Machinedrum

I really like musical gear, and I must admit I buy stuff too frequently and don’t take enough time to get into the newly acquired tools. Sometimes I postpone buying things for a long time due to the fact I am well aware of this behavior.

I have always wanted a Elektron Machinedrum since it’s release back in , it was an expensive machine and looked pretty complicated to me. So it was easier leaving it alone a.k.a. not buying it.

Around 2016 or thereabouts there was a moment you could buy it at a discounted price from Elektron as it was going out of production. That was the moment I snapped one up.

Then it pretty much disappeared in a cupboard after my initial attempts at getting aquatinted with it. I simply didn’t get it. The thing I was afraid of in the first place. Every once in a while I got it out and forced myself learning the machine. And at some point it started to make sense, very slow and with intervals.

Now I regularly get it out and learn more about working with it. I think its an underrated drummachine and the range of sounds you can get out of it is vast. Also the Elektron sequencer adds to the versatility of the machine and range of options.

It should be on everyones wish list just like the classic drummachines like the 808 & 909. Why ? Because the whole machine was a totally different take on drum synthesis and sequencing drummachines which was not done before. If this would’ve appeared at the time of the 808 & 909 it would result in bringing it’s own landmark stamp on music, just like those classis machines.

We all too often compare alle drummachines after those 2 classis which gave birth to electro , house & techno and shaped dance music for decades. But this machine deserves being viewed as an dare I say independent machine with its own purpose in making futuristic music.

I think it’s time for the Machinedrum to take a more central role as the drummachine to shape future sounds. It’s very capable of doing this.

The music journey – Making an album (week 10)

This week has seen the continuation towards the slow return into making sound. In order to keep things simple and easy, I focussed my attention on one instrument. The Elektron Machinedrum. Which I have had for many years but never really dove into. It’s one of those machines that is a bit underrated in my opinion. Lot’s of people seem to get a bit overwhelmed with the workflow. And I must admit I had the same years ago when I bought it.

In light of my new way of doing things it felt right simply starting over with the Machinedrum from scratch. So I spent most of my time with the manual and YouTube learning the machine again. Which I must admit will stretch out in the weeks to come.

At first it’s still a bit daunting but once I got over the initial hurdle I got more into it (again). For me it’s a classic. But I need too point out I can’t use it as I did before, just going to it in periods. I need to really get stuck into this machine a little longer.

I am sure a lot will come out of the effort I am putting into the Machinedrum. If by any change you can get your hands on one, do it. It maybe a bit of a learning curve but it will pay off. It’s a very cool drummachine.

I have decided to stick it into my album setup. So it will be the main source of my drums in the project.

Learning the Machinedrum

I have a few starting points if you want to start learning the Machinedrum, first of all I need too point out the excellent Youtube series produced by Elektron when it came out, with MrDataline. Mr Dataline Machinedrum Tutorial part 1.

Just follow the whole series. Another great video on the Machinedrum is by Blush Response. Blush Response Elekron Machinedrum. Which is more on the industrial side sound wise in the video. But it gives a very good overview on the capabilities.

And just reading the manual with a nice cup of tea will get you there as well. There is also an alternative firmware which you can find here. I have not yet checked it out. But I might do that in the future.

Autechre has used the Machinedrum & Monomachine in their music and and some point shared the syses files. Information in this thread on the Elektronauts forum.

Recapping the week

All in all a nice week spent learning the Machinedrum, a bit of a mixed week in ways of progress on the album, but simply sitting with one machine and diving in has been really good. It opens up thinking creatively in another way and once you get more in-depth the ideas go further as well. Which is good for the overall project. It’s been a good week. On to the next.