Kay Suzuki / LM-1 Drum Machine Top 10
I'm obsessed with timing and obviously drumming is very fundamental. Just like lot of inspiring drummers in history such as Clyde Stubblefield, Steve Gadd and Tony Williams, each drum machine has characteristic groove and tone. Obvious ones are the Roland TR series (808, 909, 707, 606) which created a whole 80's dance music, but my dream drum machine is the Linn LM-1 which was designed by Mr Roger Linn, who later developed the legendary Akai MPC60 and MPC3000. This machine was only produced in 725 units on this planet between 1980 and 1983 and it's got this magical groove that no other machine has… Linn later released the LM-2 with a higher sampling rate, more sounds and cheaper price tag, but that magical groove isn't there any more… It's like one of those vintage cars you would be really lucky just to find one, to see it with your own eyes. This is my tribute to the LM-1, and I submit to the universe that I should have this machine somehow very soon!
Prince / D.M.S.R.
Prince is the most famous user of the LM-1 and its beat is synonymous with his career from “1999” (’82) onwards. Now you know which groove & sounds I’m talking about, right?
The System / You Are In My System
Another characteristic LM-1 groove with amazing “call & response” style synth lines. You feel like you are inside of the matrix of the groove and I’d be tripped out every time this triplet hi-hat and tom-tom fill comes in.
Jamie Principle / Baby Wants To Ride (Club mix)
I’m not sure which drum machine was used on Frankie Knuckles version, but this particular mix by Steve “Silk” Hurley is definitely an LM-1. You can hear Prince vibe in this tune because of the LM-1.
The Time / 777-9311
The song was almost entirely written and performed by Prince at his home studio, with Morris Day adding the main vocal later. I don’t think any other drum machine can create this groove even if you program the same pattern. Prince nailed it with his signature bass line too.
Michael Jackson / Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin`
Now you know, most of drums on Thriller are a combination of LM-1, TR-808 with a bit of live drums. These drum machines were “the time machine” of the era.
George Benson / Turn Your Love Around
One of the first pop hits to feature the LM-1. Programmed by Jeff Porcaro from Toto. All session drummers at that time felt the LM-1 would take over their job, but some of them learnt how to program and took that job instead. Jeff Porcaro was such a prolific drummer though.
Wally Badarou / Mambo
This is the most spiritual sounding LM-1. A classic song from the Classic album “Echoes” by the original synth master. All drums on the album are the LM-1 alongside of heavy use of Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 polyphonic synthesiser.
Herbie Hancock / Textures
My Sensei, Herbie played all synths and programmed the LM-1 on this beautiful piece. One man band style featuring a giant Japanese analogue polyphonic synth YAMAHA CS-80 on bass and other synth sounds (it’s all about the after touch and ribbon controller effect). One of the most played songs in the last 6 months for me. I’m totally hooked on the album “Mr Hands” right now.
Bob James / Macumba
From “Hands Down” (`82). Luther Vandross and Patti Austin are in the backing vocal credits, as well as Rod Temperton (from Heatwave; the writer of few Michael Jackson’s songs) on writing credit.
Mtume / Juicy Fruit
Such a juicy beat although Mtume admitted he that didn’t use the LM-1 quantise function. The clear heavy sound of the LM-1 is there and cut through nicely in the mix. The whole song is based on the conversation between the bass and LM-1.
Was (Not Was) / Earth To Doris
They featured the LM-1 on few tracks including this one with a weird trippy story on top of it.
Kay Suzuki records as Afrobuddha, and along with Amit & Aneesh Patel, runs Dalston audiophile restaurant / bar, “Brilliant Corners” (http://brilliantcornerslondon.co.uk), where he is also head chef.