Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession book – Joe Mansfield

Many DJs and producers will be salivating over this coffee-table book that details the history of the humble beat box

Recently on the Facebook page of nu jazz DJ/producer Kay Suzuki, he posted a plea for a Linn LM-1 drum machine being sold on eBay. Part of the message read: “Please, someone, sponsor me to buy this incredibly rare machine and I will deliver at least 100 beats just for you to do whatever you want…!!!”

Among the music-making fraternity, drum machines trigger fanaticism, something Boston-based hip-hop producer Joe Mansfield knows all about.

His coffee-table book Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession features 75 drum machines from a personal collection that spans gear from the 1950s through to the late 1980s. The title includes more than 200 photos by photographer Gary Land.

Among the music-making fraternity, drum machines trigger fanaticism

Alongside the images are facts about each device and interviews with drum machine programmers and innovators including Davy DMX, Schoolly-D, Marshall Jefferson and Roger Linn.

You may ask, if most of these drum machine sounds are available as software samples, why all the fuss? Well, as Suzuki said in a response to a Facebook friend who made that very point, “I do have samples, but it ain’t the same…” I’m sure Mansfield would agree.

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