July 9, 2013

Korg Rhythm 55 Rhythm Box

Early drum machines were expensive and extremely limited as to what they could do.  We look at drum machines today and certain feature we find necessary are not give a second thought.  The ability to press two buttons independent of each other and have them perform at different times was unheard of in early drum machine.  Even early programmable drum machines were quite limited.  The use of polyphonic systems and systems that could be altered had not yet made it to the mainstream, and if they did – the cost reflected this shift in technology.  One of Korg’s early rhythm machines was the KR-55, and boy does it look ugly.

On first looks alone you might guess that it doesn’t look like a sequencer or drum machine at all.  In fact, it looks more like some of the first Apple computer prototypes that had existed or even some sort of scale you see around at the post office.  Ergonomics seem to be totally out of the question and those buttons don’t seem push friendly.  Be that as it may, items like this were considered revolutionary in terms of music creation in a era that was only recently introduced to the idea of digitally produced music.