Sunday, 31 May 2015

Roland CR-1000 Drum Machine (Digital Drummer)

This drum came out in 1986.
It was the second last in a long line of Roland drum machines which bear the CR (Computer Rhythm) title.
Roland started the CR range in 1978 with the CR-68 (Human Rhythm Player.)
Then followed the  CR-78 CompuRhythm & CR-800.
In 1981 Roland came out with the CR-5000 Compurhythm & CR-8000 CompuRhythm.
In 1991, the line ended with the  CR80 Human Rhythm Player.

 The Digital drummer is a preset rhythm machine featuring 16 digital sound sources. These are PCM sounds and they cover both the standard drum kit and some latin percussion.
The tempo is adjustable from 40 to 240 beats per minute  Accent level and shuffle time are also adjustable and can be stored into each pattern.
 The sounds are BD,Snare/Rim/HC, Timbale/TT, Cymbal/HH, Conga, Claves/CowBell.

There are 48 preset patterns. The hand clap can be added to any preset pattern by simply pressing the "handclap switch".
Intro, fill-in and ending patterns are controlled by footswitches to create structures for complete songs.
When used with a MIDI keyboard instrument, a special Key Start function activates the CR-1000 the moment a key is pressed.
MIDI In and Thru connectors for controlling the tempo by MIDI clock messages or playing individual instrument sounds by MIDI note messages

For more info on the history of Roland Drum Machines click here

Saturday, 30 May 2015

ARP 2500 - Future Deep House

I've tried to keep this mix in the deep house style.

The original samples were recorded on this video:
The new mix is faster than the original.

The drums were added later along with some commercial loops.
I'm working on a new 2500 recording. All future samples will be original.

Some pics of the old patch:
From left to right we have:
1016: Dual Noise/Random Voltage Source. Contains two independent uncorrelated noise sources and filters to derive pink noise and continuous slow random voltages.
1004-T: Voltage Controlled Oscillator. Basic ARP precision VCO offering five simultaneous waveform outputs: sine, triangle, square, sawtooth, and pulse. FM and PWM. Built-in waveform mixer.
1023: Dual Voltage Controlled Oscillator. Two precision voltage controlled oscillators each similar electrically to the 1004.
1047: Multimode Filter/Resonator. Combination highpass, lowpass. bandpass, and band-reject filter. Ultra-high Q. Voltage controlled center frequency and resonance.
1006: Filtamp. A compact module containing a mixer, a voltage controlled lowpass filter, and a voltage controlled amplifier.
1005: Modamp. A complex function module containing a precision balanced modulator, a voltage controlled amplifier, and switching circuitry.
1046: Quad Exponential Envelope Generator: Ultra-compact module containing a pair of envelope generators without trigger delay and a pair with delay.
1036: Dual Sample & Hold/Random Voltage Generator. Contains two ultra-low-drift sample and hold circuits, two noise sources, and two voltage controlled pulse generators.

 On the extreme right we have:
1050: Mix/Sequencer. A combination sequencer, mixer, analog gate. Serves dozens of functions as a utility mixer, sequencer, preset function selector.
1027: Ten-Position Sequencer: Unusually flexible and reliable sequential voltage generator. Capable of creating highly complex switching patterns with 30 preset voltages.
(descriptions are care of VSE)

Below is a close up of he wonderful ARP2500 envelope generator.
For more info about the 1046 envelope gen click here

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Palmyra - Syria

I woke up this morning to the terrible news that the city of Palmyra has fallen into
the hands of Islamic State. I'm hoping that this is just a temporary situation.

These pics were taken in 2009. I never thought this would probably be the last time I'd get to visit Syria.

 This is a section of the Bel Temple

This place dates back to the Neolithic times. Palmyra was mentioned in the bible.In the second millennium BC it was a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert

It was incorporated into the  Greek (Hellenistic Seleucid Empire) and then by the Roman Empire which brought great prosperity. Palmyra gained its wealth from the caravan trade. The Palmyrenes were renowned merchants who established colonies along the Silk Road, and conducted their operations all around the Roman empire.

For more travel postcards click here

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Buchla Easel - Blue Sky Shimmer

Loving the sound of Buchla and the Stymon reverb.
the sounds are a mix of Buchla 208 & Eurorack --- all put through a Blue Sky. It's like having a whole choir in your living room.

Monday, 18 May 2015

KORG RockBeat - Keio Rockmate Drum machine 1966

This is one of the earliest of Korg's Drum synthesizer machines. It probably dates from 1966.
They are quite rare. It has 2 VCOs / 4 voices.
As was common in these early days, worldwide distribution meant that the drum was sold under different names in each market.

My drum goes by the title " Lafayette ROCKBEAT" and was produced in Tokyo, Japan.
It was marketed by the  LaFayette Radio Electronics Company.
It's a bit worse for wear, though she still works.
In the US, they were also sold as the "Olsen RockMate Donca Matic" and the Knight "Combo Sideman".

The rock band GORILLAZ made a song in November 2010 called DONCAMATIC
The faceplate layout is different in appearance though internally, they are identical.
There are 6 presets labeled A to F (and a fill). They are Swing Trot, Down Beat, Jazz Rock, Rock Beat, Four Beat & Slow Ballard.
The rhythms are charted out on music staves on the top panel
The doncamatic was one of the first all-electronic solid state drum rhythm machines made.
The Korg company was originally called "KEIO Gijutsu Kenkyujo Limited"

 The Tempo & rhythm (preset) dials.

The case is made out of steel and measures 7.5" x 7.5" and 1-1/4" deep.

 It is powered by a 9-volt battery (included), but also has a 9V AC adapter jack on it.

1/4" output jacks

The "Solo" button kicks in the fill (endless 16th notes on snare & hat) for as long as you hold it down
The drum was used by Morris Day & The Time.

For more info on the history of Korg Drum Machines Click Here

Friday, 15 May 2015

Buchla 203 cabinet - 30 units of bliss

The ever expanding universe.... that's how I sometimes view my Buchla obsession.
The collection till now has been housed in more than one case and much has been kept (sadly) in storage waiting for a suitable home. There is lots of merit in trying to restrict the size of one's system in order to get the most out of each module. Bigger does not mean more creativity. It might even stifle creativity. But everyone is different. The Easel's 208 panel for example occupies just 4U. It's incredible for its "power to weight ratio" and flexibility. This attribute is what makes Buchla amazing for live performance.

The studio environment however is another story. It lets you go a bit crazy. I've always wanted to indulge this love of mine & finally put that larger system together. BEMI do sell lots of cases but even their largest system only uses a 24 unit  powered cabinet. That's four 6 unit boats.

 BEMI's largest cabinet the 24unit 201e-24

Bigger Buchla doesn't always mean better. Buchla packs lots of punch and even the smallest of systems can be very powerful in the right hands. I started out with just 3 units about 6 years ago. Then upsized that to a 12. When I finally succumed to a 24U I thought this would satisfy my lust. Apparently Not.

Buchla (before BEMI) did once produce a larger cabinet : They called it the 203.
This consisted of  five 6 unit boats. I've been searching for a vintage one without luck for years. Even pictures of them are rare to find. Lucky for me I have managed to secure a clone. And this 203 has been built by one of the best : Jason R. Butcher. I thought I'd post some pics just after I unpacked this work of art.
Jason R. Butcher's beautiful hand built 203 cabinet.
I've chosen to use a "modern" power distribution - similar to that found in current BEMI cases

The sculptured wooden ends of the Buchla 203

The finish on this cabinet is first class and the case is simply beautiful. Jason Butcher is a artist and this shines through. 

This is one of Jason's art works. When I first saw this I thought it was a etching plate (to print images onto paper). This, it is not. It's a finished art work. The surface is very delicate. A blend of digital (the photo) & analog (the etching).

I don't know the exact process but it reminded me of those early photos taken in the 19th century. They used metal plates treated with silver to make them light sensitive.

Jason says that the original photo is of the interior of a Buchla 100 series cabinet that he was working on. There are some power wires and maybe wood shavings. It looks like a silhouette which is what led him to print it. 
The process has lots of similarities to etching printed circuit boards. There is a lovely unity where art crosses to electronics. It addition to cabinet building and art, Jason Butcher is well known for his wonderful Buchla format modules. Here are a couple next to his etching.

More links: 
1. Jason Butcher's Touch Keyboard  
2. Jason Butchers Blog
3. JRB's official Website
4. Muff's JRB Bandpass filter
5. JRB on Vimeo
7. JR Butcher's Soundcloud