During Dubspot’s recent trip to Seattle’s Decibel Festival, our video team caught up with Roger Linn, the godfather of the modern drum machine, Carl Craig, one of Detroit’s most talented producers, for a lecture/discussion about the history and evolution of the rhythm machines that have shaped our musical world.
One of the most inspiring elements of Seattle’s annual Decibel Festival is the conversations that transpire between some of the world’s most talented musical thinkers. Decibel acts as a catalyst for these moments, with lectures and demonstrations taking place throughout the festival. We were especially excited to catch a workshop where drum machine creator and pioneer Roger Linn joined Detroit techno innovator Carl Craig for a talk on the evolution of drum machines and the future of electronic rhythm.
In this video, Linn explains that our assumption of drum machines appearing in the early 80s is incorrect, and he takes us on a tour of early electronic rhythm devices such as Leon Thermin’s Rhythmicon (1930), the Chamberlin Rhythmate (1957), Raymond Scott’s Bandito the Bongo Artist (1963), Seeburg’s Select-A-Rhythm (1964), the PAiA Programmable Drum Set (1975) and the CompuRhythm CR-78 (1978). Craig probes with questions regarding interface design for musicians vs. engineers, discusses the development of drum interfaces, and talks about how the Akai MPC changed his production and composition techniques.