Everyone here knows how much I like my Machinedrum, right? It’s a terrific drum machine made by Elektron. Well they recently introduced a new machine to their line up. It’s a sampler called Octatrack. Sampling isn’t my main interest in music; my Machinedrum does a little on its own, and what it can’t handle I pick up with my laptop and Ableton Live. But if I was performing and sampling, this would be a pretty slick purchase.
Anyways, the point is that Elektron released a new short film/advert for the Octatrack. This is really slick and may answer anew the old question, who is Kaiser Souzai?

To really get this storyline, it may do you well to watch these previous videos as well, for the Machinedrum and Monomachine.

my robots on the machinedrum

robots on my machinedrum

If you’ve spent any time at all reading the stuff on DanceRobotDance, you know I love my Machinedrum. It’s a fantastic drum machine that deserves better than me. The only real problem I’ve had with it is that with me sitting at the desk, and it sitting on the desk, the little screen where one sees parameters and information is really hard to read. It’s best when the MD is in one’s lap, but that’s not really a good place for it in most circumstances. The Machinedrum comes with two little holes drilled into its sides and a set of ears for mounting on a rack, but I don’t have a rack. I’ve seen some examples on the internets of people having made some metal or wood end cheeks to set it at a 30-degree angle, and exploring this I found that the manufacture of custom cheeks like this was just going to be more money or hassle for me than it was worth.
Enter ProModular. ProModular is a small outfit in The Bronx, New York, made up of one dude named Stephen who like me, frequents the MuffWiggler synth forum website. I’ve been interested in his custom modular synth panels for some time, but since I don’t really keep any permanent open spaces in my synth, I’ve not found the excuse to get any. I wrote to him a while back to inquire about etching a robot onto the front panel of a joystick kit I’m working on, but I’ve not got around to completing that. So when he posted a few weeks ago that he was going to start making these cheek panels for the Machinedrum, I jumped up and down.
They’re currently 25 bucks, and I even got some custom robots I designed etched on the sides. They look even better in person, and they make the damn thing a whole lot easier to see and work with. Very happy with this.

robots on my machinedrum


Today on the Elektron-Users.com forum I found a really interesting compilation of music put together by E-U forum members. The compilation is built around Elektron instruments (Monomachine, Octatrack, and my beloved Machinedrum) and is available for a $5 download. There is also a free version with just a few songs. The download is pretty spectacular. It includes 15 tracks, a PDF file of photography and artwork and credits, and a larger PDF file with a veritable “making-of” and information about the project, as well as information for anyone interested in putting a compilation similar to this together.

The project is described like so:

Machine is a unique compilation album and collaborative effort, produced in its entirety by the elektron-users.com community, made primarily with instruments created by the Swedish boutique synthesiser company Elektron. The elektron-users.com forum is a playground for experienced and inexperienced electronic musicians activated by a base of friendly, helpful and creative people from all over the world.

So go here now and cough up your five bucks. It’s good stuff.

donut and noisering and machinedrum


This is basically part 3 in the series of doing stuff with the Noisering, the Hertz Donut, and the Plan B low pass gate. Go back and listen to that which is posted on 3 August and 5 August. This patch is essentially the same. The Noisering sends its random CV to the Hertz Donut, attenuated slightly. The Donut is in “Good” mode, and is connected to the Plan B Model 13 in “both” mode. The signal from the Donut is also attenuated somewhat, as it’s really easy to completely overdrive the Model 13. The envelope for the M13 is provided by Maths. Now the difference here is that the triggers for the whole thing are coming from a Machinedrum. The Machinedrum has a machine called GND IMP which is just a trigger pulse made for things like pre-MIDI drum machines and analog synths. I can sequence these triggers just like any other drum or sound on the MD. I have the track routed through external output F to the CLK IN of the Noisering. That triggers the random CV of the Noisering, and also sends through the clock out the trigger for the Maths envelope.

Now the interesting part here is in the first half of this track. You can hear kind of a little double trigger on each note. I couldn’t figure out what was going on here, thinking it was something happening with the Maths. But then realizing that the notes were changing between each of the little triggers on each beat, meaning that the Noisering was getting two triggers, I realized that the event was taking place on the Machinedrum, not the modular. I noticed that I had the wrong machine chosen for the Machinedrum. It was set to a ROM machine, which is meant for playing back samples, and not the IMP impulse machine. I don’t know — and I wish I’d checked — what the ROM machine was playing. I’m assuming that it had two distinct peaks, whatever it was, which created two triggers. In any case, it sounds great. Like it’s got this funky little swing going. At 1:04 you can hear it change back to single triggers as I swapped the machines out.

The track loops a lot with most of the change coming from the notes played by the Noisering. But closer to the end I’m punching in random steps on the Machinedrum’s sequencer, keeping everything quantized to 16th notes. (In case you want to try this at home, I’m using generic 1/4″ to 1/8″ mono cables I bought at Radio Shack for $5.99. Don’t forget to set the routing for whatever track you’re using for triggers to one of the four external outputs rather than the main output…)

home to papa

A couple of weeks ago I had to send my Machinedrum to get fixed. A button that was finicky when I bought it became dysfunctional. Elektron said they could send me a new button for $5 and I could do the work myself, which I thought was a little weird. So I sent it to their service facility in Georgia, where it was operated on and sent back to me quote promptly.
In celebration of the return of the Machinedrum, I spent half an hour yesterday on it. These two tunes are all Machinedrum, all recorded in one take, and edited down for length a bit.