The age of drum machines

November 12, 2013

One of the most essential pillars of the recording studios for pop music in the 1980’s, especially where Hi-NRG music was made were the drum machines. Many cases the acoustic drums were replaced by these semi-computerized equipment. If this started due to financial reasons, not having to pay for a drummer or the fact that drums are one of the most difficult instruments to record well (there are sound engineers specialized for recording drum sessions) or this simply was much easier and faster to set up the program for a new song to be recorded on the often conveyor belt type production… Difficult to tell these days.

Andras Fixler - The Age of Drum

The truth is that the sound of drum machines were very revealing of the Hi-NRG sound. Today when a middle category synthesizer (especially if connected with studio software) can replace an entire band or even a full symphonic orchestra it is not a big deal, but it was that time. In the credits of many albums made during those years the “drummer” is mentioned as for example “Drums by A Linn” where “A Linn” stands for a certain type of Linn drum machines and definitely does not mean the abbreviated name of a human being.