Australian synthesist ascetik shared this live performance, which explores the possibilities of using the Elektron Machinedrum as a 16-voice polyphonic synthesizer.
Elektron’s gear is known for having deep options that reward, and arguably require, taking time to really learn the device inside and out. In this example, ascetik shows that there’s a lot of unexplored territory still in the Machinedrum, though Elektron retired the drum machine years ago.
Here’s what ascetik has to say about the performance:
“For this video I’m using the MegaCommand, which is an open source midi controller for the Machinedrum that unlocks full polyphony integration, as well as other modern sequencer updates, such as conditional trigs and micro timing. With this controller it’s no longer necessary to manually map each machine’s pitch as it’s all done automatically and you have full access to the entire note range available to every synth engine.
The MegaCommand also replicates the ‘ctrl all’ trick automatically without having to manually hold the function button while turning knobs, which means you can tweak a parameter while playing at the same time, something that would only be possible natively if you had three arms. This opens up a lot of live playing possibilities and really helps make the Machinedrum feel more like an actual poly synth.
And believe me, it is a poly synth. It’s a 16 voice poly synth in fact, with a uniquely gritty and lo-fi sound engine.
In this video I’m showcasing the FM Bass Drum engine, which is arguably one of the best bass drums on the whole machine, and rivals even the Analog Rytm for raw power and low end. You’d think a bass drum engine would be quite limited sonically, and you’d be wrong. On the Machinedrum it’s capable of melancholic pads, eery soundscapes, aggressive basses, soft mallets, gamelans and sounds that I don’t even know how to describe.”