A 200-page love letter to music-making technology over the years
A decade or so ago, an L.A. musician named John Wood popularized the now ubiquitous bumper sticker/T-shirt combination that reads, “Drum Machines Have No Soul”. Now, while the relationship between pop music and technology certainly warrants some healthy skepticism, I’m inclined to say fuck all that noise. From “Family Affair” to Stop Making Sense, to Kraftwerk and New Order to Prince and Quincy, to well, damn near every hip-hop and house record that ever existed, the drum machine has been a vital medium for the last forty-plus years of music. And, as the 200-page anthology, Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession suggests, that history is one worth celebrating.
Since the early ’80s, producer Joe Mansfield has been accumulating gear, collecting drum machines of all shapes and sizes and sounds. Beat Box turns a photographic eye to Mansfield’s collection, and in the process, documents the evolution of a technology over time, from the design to the sound, to the music it became a part of. Below, check out a few shots, but you can cop that thang here.