Post Punk Drum Machines and Other Gear

The desire for 80s electronic music making gear has never been greater with so many Synth Pop, Coldwave, Darkwave and Post Punk bands around recreating that sound with the help of retro drum machines and synths used back in the day.

I did some research and compiled a short list of a few drum machines and other gear used by a couple of well known Post Punk and Synth Pop bands. This isn’t a definitive list just a few examples of the most popular drum machines and gear that will give you the 80s sound you’re looking for.

Top of the list seems to be the LM-1 and later released LinnDrum. I won’t go into the history of each machine but needless to say they were a popular choice used by artists including Michael Jackson (who also used the 70s Univox), Prince, Gary Numan, Human League, and practically every artist around in the 80s so of course comes at a huge price of around £3,500 used.

The good news is there are much cheaper alternatives out there such as any decent sampler using LinnDrum or other drum machine sampled sounds. If you want the original drum machine you have to factor in specialist maintenance and repairs along the way which could cost you a lot more as well as not being as easily compatible with modern digital home studio technology, USB etc. But they sound great and being analogue they produce that dynamic punch in recordings compared to samples or digital drum machines.

Next up, the Oberheim DMX, even the name sounds expensive and it is. Introduced in 1980 at a list price of $2895 it will surely give you the sound you want and they have kept their value if you can find one. In 1983 they released a slightly stripped down version of the DMX, the Oberheim DX with 18 sounds instead of 24.

Next, probably the most well known retro drum machines today, the Roland TR 808, 909, 707, 606 and 626. There are others but these were the most commonly used and are more highly sought after now then when they were released — also costing a lot more now than the original list price.

The Roland TR-707 in particular was and still is popular with Post Punk bands. The TR-606 was favoured by French House producers in the 90s. The TR-808 was widely used by 80s electro and hip hop producers while the TR-909 was the sound of 90s Techno. The TR-626 combines a few of the most popular drum sounds from all machines, including the LM-1 but is not as sought after for some reason.

Lebanon Hanover in the studio using the Yamaha RX11 Drum Machine and Moog

Practically any decent Drum Machine released in the 80s will sound alright with a bit of reverb. Behringer also make a version of the Moog One at a fraction of the cost. Yamaha, Korg, Alesis and Boss all made good drum machines that you can find now for under £200. The Alesis SR-16 (later replaced with the SR-18) claims to be the most popular selling drum machine of all time is still sold today and sounds very 80s. The Yamaha RX11 is another great sounding old machine used by Lebanon Hanover.

Another great synth pop band is Boy Harsher who are using a mixture of old and new gear. Below you can see the samples and other gear used in their Against The Clock challenge.

They’re using a mix of drum and synth samples and original gear with an Ableton controller and DAW software. The Drum Machine sampled is a Korg DDD-1, along with Roland SH-101 analogue Synth, Roland JV1080 Synth Rack Module “with silky smooth sounds” played on a midi keyboard and a TC Helicon Voicelive Rack module for the all important vocals with Chorus, Reverb and Delay.

So there you have it. You could have this whole set up for around £6,000 at a rough guess, including a decent computer with sound card and plenty of storage. As always there are cheaper ways of doing things.

NEW WORLD ORDER – Various Artists | RDC

From RDC:

I am glad to present to your attention a new collection from Russian Dark Community!

I want to thank all the participants for the music provided. Enjoy listening!

To participate in our compilations, send a WAV track and links to your project in social networks: Facebook, bandcamp, etc.




01. Shinigami (IND) (Mexico)


02. Cease2Xist (UK)


03. Normoria (USA / Sweden)

Bandcamp: normoria…  more

Bedroom Cassette Masters 1980​-​89 Volume One

Eclectic selections of lo-fi vintage electronica produced in bedrooms around the globe between 1980- 89.

Each downloadable volume of Bedroom Cassette Masters comes with an extensive PDF guide to the artists, the gear and the era + printable j-card cassette inlay. 

“Sounds like vintage electronica, looks like vintage electronica…” 

A compilation of tracks from all over the web which, while many of them were recorded in the 1980’s using analogue equipment, some of them most definitely were not. Nevertheless all have been produced with that same spirit in mind. Enjoy them at face value. 

The album download includes a comprehensive illustrated PDF guide to the tracks and the artists.


released December 22, 2012 

Curated by Simon Holland AKA Carrillion. All tracks have been *gently* compressed to bring the levels up to an average for improved listening pleasure. Collated from February to December 2012.

Face Mask’s, Tee’s, Tank Top’s and Fanny Pack’s – inspired by East Berlin, 1986


A useful range of KAISER MASCHINE merch, designed by me, available at Teespring. More designs coming soon.



Acid rock, psychedelic band from Milan, Italy; their name comes from an ancient pre-christian festivity celebrated in Northern Italy when a big straw puppet resembling a witch is burnt as a propitiatory ritual towards the forces of nature. 

Bazu (Stefano Basurto) – vocals and string instruments 
Saffo – organ, violin, vocals 
Detrji (Paolo Basurto) – bass 
Betta (Stefano Betta) – drums

What Have You Done/Silver Machine 7“ (H42-034) 

Side A: What Have You Done 
Side B: Silver Machine (Hawkwind Cover) feat. Shazzula 

PSYBORG – Download Codes

This is an 80s horror sci-fi themed electronic album influenced by the original Terminator movie soundtrack.

I’m giving away some free download codes and will be adding more tracks in the coming days.

  • qkf5-gc6k 9nab-uxt9 zd9m-ev3z yjt7-78d6 ygnv-5fxy ytw8-7ajr
  • tzjt-578d 2yg3-7e7h 7vj3-kv8u vfgl-6k3q 7auh-69lz m75j-y9vg
  • 9mr8-bzz3 zrm2-w694 3vr5-hg6m wgmb-v396 etrm-gw6k 8nm7-74t9
  • tw8v-5q3z 6xkt-bmne u4yt-xz5u vpuy-jg7p f6wy-k3qn m3hz-6x6e

Grab a code and redeem here.

“The Guitar that Changed the Direction of our Lives” – Billy Corgan’s Stolen Guitar Returned after 27 years

Reposted from Patch

When Billy Corgan got his guitar back after 27 years, he called Chicago guitar miracle worker Geoff Benge to fix it up. (Mark Konkol)

CHICAGO — Maybe you’ve heard about Billy Corgan’s prized Fender Stratocaster, the one responsible for the dreamy tones that defined Smashing Pumpkin’s debut album, Gish. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin reportedly borrowed the guitar from a friend, or so the story goes, and sold it to Corgan, who refers to it as the “guitar that changed the direction of our lives.”

“The minute I started playing on the Strat, it was like it came to life. It was like everything I was doing suddenly was amplified,” Corgan told Rolling Stone senior writer Kory Grow. “On that Strat, it was like you suddenly could hear every little thing I was doing. … Suddenly the sound of the band got way more beautiful, psychedelic and wide.”

He immediately recognized unique details: The cigarette burn on the neck. The initials “KM” engraved in the bridge. The sloppy artwork Corgan added himself, the f-word scratched into the paint, and, of course, the way it felt in his hands.

Billy Corgan gave his Fender Stratocaster a custom paint job. Photo by Mark Konkol

You can see the joy in Corgan’s face in photos of the rocker’s reunion with his beloved “Bullet Strat” documented on YouTube, and celebrated online.

“I’m literally gonna take it somewhere, and get it fixed up,” Corgan told Rolling Stone.

That’s pretty much how the story ended, until now.

As things turn out, “somewhere” is a converted auto-repair garage at 1828 West Belmont in Roscoe Village, home to Chicago luthier Geoff Benge’s guitar shop. 

There’s a reason the “Gish” guitar ended up at Benge’s place. If you’re looking for a Chicago guy to fix your most precious guitar there’s probably nobody better, according to people who know about these things.

I first met Benge in 2008 at his fix-it shop’s former Lake View location. He told me about the one-armed guitar player who brought in a Regal guitar that had been carried across Europe during WWII, and now rested in pieces in its case. Benge fixed it up so good that when the owner first pressed his fingers against the neck, he cried. At home, the man said with joyful tears, his wife would do the strumming.

“If I can’t fix it, it’s not broke,” Benge says with a laugh. 

He’s worked on guitars since he scored his first job emptying ashtrays at Sound Post, a long-gone Evanston guitar shop, when he as 14. He helped open Guitar Works, and did a stint in the repair shop at Chicago Music Exchange before building his own repair business based on referrals from a long list of renowned Chicago guitarists. Nicholas Tremulis, Liz Phair, Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones, Steve Albini and, of course, Corgan all count Benge as their trusted guitar repairman, and sometimes miracle worker.

For 20 years, Tremulis, a Chicago music scene stable, has had Benge electrify 1920s acoustic guitars. 

In 1993, Albini, the famed recording engineer and owner of Electric Audio studios, had Benge convert a collection of right-handed guitars — including a rare aluminum Voleno guitar — so each one could be played lefty, in other words, upside-down and backwards.

On my recent visit, Benge and his pal and long-time collaborator, Kriss Bataille, ribbed each other about that.

“I remember asking Geoff if he knew why Albini wanted those guitars made left-handed,” luthier Kriss Bataille said.

“And I said, ‘No, I don’t give a f—,'” Benge said. 

“So, I told him, Albini’s taking them to record Nirvana,” Bataille says, laughing. “Pretty cool that we set up guitars used [by Kurt Cobain] on ‘In Utero.”

Benge, 54, doesn’t care much about that. It’s not like he played on Nirvana’s final record. 

“You know what I remember,” he said, while twisting the tuner on a recently restrung acoustic. “Months later, Albini brought the guitars back and said, ‘Make ’em righty again.’ So, I did.”

In February, Corgan told Rolling Stone he figured his newly returned guitar was built in 1974. 

After taking the guitar apart, taking into account it’s outfitted with one of Fender’s first die-cast bridge saddles and talking with a guitar electronics expert in California, Benge pegged the Strat as a ’75. But the serial number etched on the 3-bolt neck plate hints at a different story. 

The Stratocaster’s exact vintage, well, that’s complicated. Corgan’s Stratocaster was built during the heart of the “CBS era” — a low point in Fender’s corporate history when the quality of each guitar was a crap shoot.

Between 1973 and 1975 Fender’s factory was in flux, lacked inventory and quality controls and, Norvell says, factory workers “went off script.” Back then all Fender guitars were made by hand, and put together with mismatched parts from unmarked bins. Sometimes, even guitar necks and bodies didn’t match.

“Billy’s Strat is more of a guitar on the cusp,” Fender Executive Vice President of Products Justin Norvell said.

Benge found the Stratocaster’s “flat pole” pickups were stamped with the date, Dec. 30, 1975. The guitar’s ’76 serial number hints that a Fender craftsman didn’t put the finishing touches on before celebrating on New Year’s Eve.

Continue reading…

EP by Korto



EP by Korto

Another good find this time out of France with a familiar sound that could have come out of Manchester or the US in the 90s.

I can hear The Stone Roses, Primal Scream in psychedelic mode and vocals reminded me of Janes Addiction.


The three piece strikes again with a record that represents the band itself : beauty, chaos, tension and relief.  This ep is the result of numerous jams where the drums/bass remain frenetic, and the guitar/vocals stand impassive in front of what could look like a big beautiful mess.

The band has proudly kept the same team as it’s previous LP to work on that new material: this has been recorded at le K7 studio with Franck Molin, mastered by Renaud de Saint Vaast, and cover designed by the mighty Chufy.