I spent today working on (playing with? trying to learn?) the Digitakt. Made progress, enjoyed the experience, wrote down notes. Recorded some tracks.
The first one here, Organ, Rhythm, 65, picks up where the last post left off. That organ sample was still sitting there so I ran with it. Slowed the whole thing down to 65bpm. I really like the slow deliberate rhythm at that speed. Put the organ from that religious cardboard record on two tracks, one panned left, the other right. Randomized the loop start points, and pressed record.
The second track, Digitakt Voxrhythm, was the last thing I recorded today, just finally playing around with sampling directly to the machine. Two iterations of my voice, and some leftover stuff from the CR-78. This is fun.
The third track, Sequence, Delay, Warped, is me learning to use the MIDI tracks on the Digitakt sequencer. The sounds are from my modular synth. The Digitakt is sending notes and CV to the modular via the Expert Sleepers FH-2 (which is an amazing, couples device). The delay is the Mutable Instruments Warps, modulated with the Digitakt MIDI. I have a lot more of this stuff that I plan to edit sometimes in the next few days.
Got the Digitakt. Was completely overwhelmed for about four hours with all the menu diving and odd key combinations and ridiculous Elektron presets. Updated the firmware, read the manual, then erased everything. Started a new project, went about loading in a set of CR-78 samples and a few vocal oddities I’d taken from some old records over the years. Things got fun.
Yesterday afternoon, I loaded in a sampled organ from a strange old cardboard record I found in my father-law’s basement called Bernadette and the Beautiful Lady.
This record tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous of Lourde, who was visited by a vision of the Virgin Mary. The story is fantastic, the recording is goofy, but there’s a little organ number at the very end that is just lovely and made a nice looped drone on the Digitakt. I recorded a few runs with this, some with and some without using the Digitakt’s sequencer. I’m not sure which one made it here into the finished piece. I think it might be with the sequencer but with the start point randomized somewhat with an LFO. The sample is on two tracks, one panned hard left and the other right, differed lengths, and different start points. I believe one is reversed as well. This is fun stuff, and will make the Digitakt useful as much more than just a drum machine for me.
Here is the track, as well as pieces of the two samples.
I’m getting a drum machine tomorrow. I feel like it’s Christmas Eve. This isn’t my first time down this drum machine path. Back in 2010-11 I had an Elektron Machinedrum, and it brought me great joy. I didn’t really know much about what I was doing, and I didn’t use it for much. I ended up selling it to fund my first electric guitar.
The new one is a cousin of the Machinedrum: the Elektron Digitakt. While the Machinedrum was mostly a drum synth that had sampling kind of shoe-horned into it, the Digitakt is all sampling, all the time. The Digitakt isn’t new, and a quick search will allow one to watch hundreds and hundreds of hours of Digitakt videos. Which I have done, over the last three weeks, since I first realized how much I needed one. (Of course, I don’t need one.)
Drum machine rhythms have been in my head for the last several months, mostly alongside kind of slower ambient loops of electric piano and synths. The sounds of the old Roland CR-78 are what I normally hear, which began when I stumbled upon a couple of videos of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke playing alongside a CR-78.
I suspect I’ll be posting a lot of drum machine/Digitakt content soon. Here’s a track I put together last night and this morning. A few electric piano loops from an El Capistan, and yes, a CR-78 (samples, using Ableton’s drum rack).