A story about producers wouldn’t be complete with some mention, and focus, on their tools. In the third part of the book I take a look at the technologies that powered the rise of the producer as artist – from the internet to Digital Audio Workstations like FruityLoops.

Equally important in this discussion are the samplers that hip-hop and electronic music were built upon, the true workhorses of the music. I put together a list of six of the most important such machines for FACT magazine, looking at their particularities, use and abuse.

There’s some interesting links to be found among the stories available out there. Like for example the fact that Sly & Robbie used MPCs for some of their most famous hits or that Los Angeles artists like Madlib are single-handedly responsible for popularising the use of the Roland SP series of portable samplers.

Over the past 35 years, samplers have shaped the sound of modern music from the underground to the mainstream. The once expensive technology slowly became more affordable, and in the 1980s young dreamers found ways to subvert the machines’ intended use, engaging in what’s often referred to today as ‘creative misuse’. Hardware samplers became the backbone of electronic music, from hip-hop to dance, for two decades until the development of cheap, effective software sampling (and its availability on the internet) rendered them outdated.

Read the full feature here.

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