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Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

In the early 1990s, Boston producer Joe Mansfield made hits for rappers Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs. His instrument? The Akai ASQ10 sequencer.

As his discography advanced, he began accumulating machines that manipulated and enhanced his sounds. "I know I've got too many of these things," he says. "I've always loved them so much that I've found more space."

Now, the co-founder of hip-hop distributor Traffic Entertainment and boutique label Get On Down has a coffee-table book, Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession.

Chronicling 50 years of the machines with over 200 glossy photos, it discusses the instrument's impact across genres. We talked with Mansfield about 10 particular machines.

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
Gary Land

Maestro Rhythm'n Sound For Guitar (G-2) (1968)

Used on: Beastie Boys' Check Your Head (1992)

Mansfield says: "I'm sure [The Beastie Boys and producer Mario C.] first became aware of that Maestro when they saw Eddie Harris' [Plug Me In] album, which featured it on the cover; they also rap about Eddie. The machine is also like an effects unit, in addition to the drum sounds. The sounds are triggered by an incoming signal. It's a type of machine that's for sound-shaping, after playing with the EQ for a cool sound."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Univox SR-95 (1973)

Used on: Beck's "Deadweight" (2008)

"I wouldn't consider this a hip-hop machine; it definitely works better in soul, rock, or early electronic music. It's cool sounding, with some of the percussion sounds being interesting. For a sound like Beck's, it was perfect alternative rock."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Roland CompuRhythm CR-78 (1978)

Used on: Madvillain's Madvillainy (2004)

"It's in the line of the Roland TR series, so it has the start of the sound which will end up giving you the 808. You can hear the similarities in the snare and the kick in that thing. What made that machine kind of stand out when it was released was you had a bit of programmability on it. It didn't only have the preset rhythms. You could craft and create your own custom drum-tracks with it."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Roland TR-808 (1980)

Used on: The Egyptian Lover's One Track Mind (1986)

"It was inexpensive compared to other machines of the time, so the price-point would bring in a lot of producers and musicians. The sound is distinctive. It's not real synthesized sound -- if you're thinking about any electronic machine, the sound is perfect. It defines the genre. If you were trying to do music that sounded futuristic or electric in nature, that machine would sound [ideal]."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
Linn Design

LinnDrum (1982)

Used on: Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack (1985)

"The thing about the LinnDrum and its predecessor, the LM-1, they were made for professional musicians. That sound, early on, was only going to be heard on the top records. The price of the machine made them have this great sound. They were great across any type of genre. Still today, they sound great."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Korg Rhythm KR-55B (1982)

Used on: Dam-Funk's Toeachizown (2009)

"Korg [added the 55B], doubling the number of rhythm patterns from 96 to an impressive 192. The interesting part of this unit is the 'swing beat' control, which allows for each groove pattern to be modified to varying degrees. The original machines always sound warmer and thicker than the [contemporary] software."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Linn 9000 (1984)

Used on: Stacey Q's Better Than Heaven (1986)

"This [$5,000] machine continued to push technology further by incorporating 32-track MIDI sequencing, five seconds of sample memory, and 18 drum sounds triggered by touch-sensitive pads."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

E-mu SP-12 (1986)

Used on: Above The Law's Livin' Like Hustlers (1990), N.W.A.'s Niggaz4Life (1991)

"The SP-12 and later the SP-1200 came with some really cool drums, but the ability to sample made all the difference, especially for hip-hop producers. You had a box, at a somewhat reasonable price, that could sample anything you wanted. You could also mix it with some of the internal drums, and sort of have your complete production facility in this box. You could create easily and simply. It brought down a lot of barriers from people who were just getting started to get all their ideas started at home, with the gritty sound that the SP-12 would give you."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
File Photo

Akai MPC60 (1988)

Used on: Jurassic 5's self-titled EP (1998)

"The MPC-60 was designed by Roger Linn. The best thing about the 60 is a production studio in a box, at an affordable price. It had an amazing, easy to use sequencer that was very intuitive. With the multiple MIDI inputs, it made it a lot easier for anybody putting together any type of track. It worked like a multi-track tape-deck."

Here's Some Amazing Drum Machine Porn
Forat

Akai MPC3000 (1994)

Used on: DJ Quik's Safe + Sound (1995)

"It was an extension of the [Akai MPC 60]. The sequencer was monumental. That was the thing that made it monumental. That's what made it [superior] to the [E-mu SP 1200]. The MPC was miles ahead, as far as use and intuitiveness. The 1200 drums were always grittier, but you could achieve a lot with the MPC."

Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession is now available The E-mu and Akai models do not appear in the book.

The author would also like to thank Big Hutch, Cut Chemist, and DJ Nu-Mark for help with research for this story.

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