When not terrorizing Mr Bond, from the late 1970s until 1994, Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard were in a basement full of musical toys, novelty space microphones, a TR-606, and a SH-09 in Piscataway, NJ recording cassettes as the band Smersh. In 1981 Smersh released their first cassette under their own label of Atlas King. They never rehearsed, they couldn't read music, and they never played live, and they contributed to far too many compilations throughout the known world. In the early eighties they established a unique sound that is known and loved, combining cheap electronics and wild guitar sounds with distorted vocals. By trading cassettes they garnered international acclaim leading to releases on dozens of other labels. [more inside]
The Akai MPC family of instruments combine drum machine, sampler, and sequencer. They've dominated hip hop production for the past couple decades, inspired newer bigger grid based controllers (previously), and have also allowed the finger drummers of the world to take their craft to the next level. [more inside]
Mike Walters is at it again with an amazing tape-based drum machine. Full details are to be found on his website. [previously]
Print your own DIY papercraft drum machine. Webcam + paper template + free software = drum machine with tangible interface. [via] [more inside]
You say you don't like drum machines? Well, here's one even the staunchest Luddite has gotta love. Or you might like some of the recent experiments in making the interfaces more physical. And surely you'll admit this one's really very charming. Wanna go non-Western? Get yer talas out with this tabla machine. It'll be only a matter of time, then, till you get into the whole classical Hindustani gitchtronica thing, which is what the cool kids are into. [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions]
Time once again to pay a little visit to Japan's ever-engaging electro-mechanical music overachievers, Maywa Denki. Here's some of their latest and greatest efforts.
Of course you know the rhythm box/drum machine has had a profound impact on modern music-making, but how much do you know about its history? Was the Rhythmicon the very first rhythm machine? Korg's DoncaMatic (great name, eh?) was one of the first commercial models. Up until 1979 they were all pre-programmed, but Roland ushered in the modern era with the user-programmable CR-78, and followed it up soon after with the legendary TR808. Go here for a fairly comprehensive overview of vintage drum machines (organized alphabetically, with photos and descriptions/background info). And here you can interact with a wide assortment of virtual [Flash] rhythm boxes of the 70's and 80's. (Knee-jerk Flash haters, go ahead and hate it, but this is one of the best uses of Flash I can imagine.)
New invention: A computer-based drum machine. In Microsoft Excel.
Croatian keyboardist Belinda Bedekovic is quite a spectacle (video). According to her biography, "on her public appearances with her virtuosity and performance she 'demolishes everything in front of her', and they are regularly accompanied by enthusiastic applause, sometimes even leading to euphoria."