This man is responsible for most of the records I love. He’s Roger Linn, who invented the MPC sampler (used by Dre and Timbaland and everyone else). But his first invention was the Linn LM1 drum machine, which Prince used on ‘Ballad of Dorothy Parker’ and ‘When Doves Cry’ and pretty much everything else he made during the glory years. By the time he made ‘Sign of The Times’, his LM-1 was already a retro rarity, and it already sounded ironic.
The LM-1 was the first drum machine to use samples (Roger Linn approached his friend Jeff Porcaro from Toto to provide the samples), and when it was launched in 1979, it cost $5,000. Only five hundred were ever made, and they don’t crop up on Ebay too often. But don’t worry, all the LM1 sounds are available in Akai sample format at the wonderful Hollow Sun archive. And they’re free.
There’s a great, epic, discussion of Prince, his customised Linn collection, and the mysterious ‘Kuh’ sound here. (That site is now completely dead. Here's the relevant discussion, culled from the Google cache. The format is all messed up, but it should work: LINK)
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