A month with a drum machine sounds like a short time, but for me it was actually a profound experience. The Elektron Analog Rytm is a powerful, malleable, intuitive and overall joy to use. Within the short time of owning it, I had developed several drum kits that I intended to use for an upcoming Tonal Centers event. Then, just over a week away from that gig, the Rytm stopped.
Now I am not going as far as to say that was the day the music died, but... let's just say that I had a wee bit of a panic attack the evening the machine stopped working. Nearly complete with some finishing touches on a "set list" and all the sounds and percussion that I wanted to use, I felt that I was completely adrift without the percussion part of it. After submitting a ticket, I was already shopping for a cheap drum machine in the area. This is the power of a drum machine. You never really know how hooked you are until you are without one.
Down a machine, I still have two: the synth and the Octatrack (OT). Knowing that the OT is more than just a looper, it was time for me to put my thinking cap on and see if anyone out there uses the OT as a drum machine, or something like it. Indeed, many have confessed that the OT has mostly become a drum machine. Admittedly, some said, it was a bit different than a drum machine, and not as flexible, but it works OK. Well, that got me to thinking that maybe I just needed to suck it up, and chalk this situation as a learning opportunity. A chance to grow and learn the OT just a little bit better.
So far, I have only used the OT as live looping machine, recording short loops on the fly, then mixing them out while introducing new sounds from the synth. I was set to continue to do so if the Rytm was functioning. Now it was time for me to think about how to record loops, then save them on the OT for future use. I learned that the Rytm is flexible in how to record, and the editing process has been a little fun, too. I've had to dig deep into the manual, watch some very, very long tutorials on YouTube, and also make some mistakes along the way. But generally, without getting too complex, I have found a way to prerecord some synthesizer drum sounds to mix in and out.
I have a few days before the next Tonal Centers, and I will need them. While I continue to record more drum sounds, I will continue to hone a new mixing style, while still trying to do some live looping. All in all, I am starting to come to terms that my Rytm will be out of commission for a while. But considering that I took the opportunity to learn how to play my instruments differently, the beat goes on.