Photo: Tonje Thilesen.

This free B-side from Machinedrum is the perfect thing for the solstice

Ready to raise your energy level and channel your higher self on the longest day of the year? (Or the shortest day of the year, if you’re in the southern hemisphere?) Machinedrum (the artist, not the Elektron box) has quietly released the track that has the perfect vibe for that – even if you didn’t spot the track name. And it’s now a free download. It’s short, but otherwise sounds as much hit single as b-side, warm, friendly, and uncomplicated – genius. You might put it on repeat as instant anti-depressant. Enjoy! THE HIGHER SELF OF A PERSON IS SEEN …

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digitakt

Elektron’s Digitakt is a compact drum machine, sequencer, sampler

Elektron has been making some beautiful analog stuff with, well, “analog” in the name. But it seems the time has come to fill a glaring opening in the market – one left not just by Elektron, but by the industry in general. Digitakt is dedicated drum machine hardware that’s also a sampler and also (at last) a powerful sequencer for external gear. In other words, it’s the box that does what the computer does as far as sampling, sound design, and gear control – but focused on just those tasks. It’s also an answer to Elektron users shouting “why doesn’t …

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One of our favorite 2016 inspirations, Antye Greie-Ripatti aka AGF, contemplates in the snow. Courtesy the artist.

A year in music starts 2017 with the best of 2016

The early days of January – the email inbox is still quiet, things are for many still moving slow. But if musical perspective is possible only with hindsight, it’s a moment when the picture of a moment in musical history has first crystallized. The zeitgeist of an era starts to reveal its footprint. This isn’t a look back. It’s a round-up of the music we believe looks forward. Tellingly, too, the music that’s most effective at doing that also has studied their history and developed their art – multiple artists show up on our reissues and new lists. It’s a …

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elektronRIP

Elektron sell off the final Machinedrum, Monomachine

It’s the end of an era. The Elektron Machinedrum (2001) and Monomachine (2003) will see this month their last batch from manufacturing. It’s pretty remarkable how far these machines have come – spurred on by passionate users and a string of software updates that kept them fresh. Our Swedish friends at Elektron aren’t being terribly subtle with their marketing announcing the event, either, going for a funeral motif. Wait. Let’s back up. These are new units arriving, and unless a software update is going all Blade Runner on these things, not sure “funeral” was what they were looking for. But …

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Launchpad meets Ninja Tune and Brainfeeder

Here’s what happens when artists meet up with Launchpad on iOS

We used to talk about the home studio. Then the bedroom producer. Then laptop music. Now it’s more like the everywhere studio – and the computer may be nowhere to be seen. Tools like Launchpad for iOS tend to exist in some sort of alternate dimension from the world of music tech writing, even when it comes to this site. But quietly, a lot of people are making music with them. (It doesn’t hurt that there are a lot of iPads and iPhones out there, or that the apps are often given away for free.) But just because this is …

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html5drummachine

808 Site Found: Five Drum Machines Now Live In Your Browser

It’s finally happened. The 808 is now a tab in your browser. And it’s brought friends. Sure, they’re called “hip hop, house, electro, techno, and acoustic” but – you’re not fooling anyone. (Least of all because some of those genres use the other machines.) That’s an acoustic kit, plus the Roland TR-808 and TR-909, Elektron Machinedrum, and Roger Linn’s Linndrum. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen drum machines emulated in a browser. But coding for the rich Web, and browsers in general, have each gotten a lot better, so the experience has improved. And, crucially, this isn’t just a …

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Watch Elektron and Roland AIRA Sing, Live: Dark, Dubby Techno by Phelios [Video, Listen]

There was a time when “live” or live PA meant “I’ve hauled a bunch of gear to this gig and made a mess of cables and I’m going to improvise live for you.” Now, too often, it means “I’m going to DJ with Ableton Live instead of Traktor or CDJs.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much about a laptop or hardware. But there is a spectrum – a useful spectrum, applicable to different artists at different times. And if you really want “live,” you want an artist who constructs music before your eyes out of building blocks. Electronic …

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Teenage Engineering to Make a $50 Drum Machine [Pictures, Teaser]

What if a drum machine were as small and appealing as those old Game & Watch portable Nintendo games? That’s the latest design challenge undertaken by the mad scientists at Teenage Engineering. And the creation has some serious lineage: Jesper Kouthoofd, CEO of Teenage Engineering and designer of the new board, contributed to the original Machinedrum. The board made its appearance for the first time in the general public at the panel I moderated at Moogfest, alongside Moog’s Cyril Lance. (Now, that’s more fun to bring to a presentation than a PowerPoint slide deck, right?) The size is about the …

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Analog-Rytm-By-Elektron-Top-View

Elektron Analog Rytm Drum Machine: Specs, Pricing, Photos

It may lack every feature of the Octatrack or the digital drum workflows of Machinedrum. (At least that’s what some of you have told us – attached to your gear, perhaps?) But I’m betting for many, Analog Rytm’s combination of dedicated analog architecture and sample support is attracting some interest as a balanced solution for hardware drum machine design. And now we know roughly when we’re getting it. Analog Rytm is due Q1 2014, with “preliminary” price at US$1549/€1489. And we know a bit more about the architecture. The sample engine is “customizable” and “highly bendable” and can be layered …

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Elektron’s Analog Rytm, Revealed: 8-Voice Analog Drum Machine, with Sample Support

Apparently, this year is the Year of The New Drum Machine. But enough teasing. Elektron now has some actual details for us of their entry. Better still, they sound promising. You get an architecture worthy of the creators of the Machinedrum – with the requisite step sequencer and performance options – but in an instrument that combines both an 8-voice analog drum machine with sample playback. It’s not clear yet how those samples work, but that’s good news. And the 4×3 (cough) pads we saw earlier are both velocity- and pressure-sensitive. Other than that, we’re still short of some other …

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