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When you think of vintage in professional audio, you probably think of hardware. It’s beige and faded AKAI samplers, obscure tubular cases that look like relics of war (and weigh the same), Austrian and German microphones, you know – all that good stuff. However, older audio software — things like early DAWs and softsynths running sequences on retinal-melting CRT screens — seem less fondly remembered. I mean, I don’t see anyone trying to emulate Cubase or Reaktor. And the latest Mohicans who synthpop on an Atari ST, wreck industrial guitars on TurboSynth, or run their studios on old Macs with DigiDesign boards, are a rare breed.
Hammerhead – (almost first) 1997 software drum machine gets iOS reset
Retro equipment is in the heart. And over the years, we’ve gained an understanding of how innovative and ahead of his time he was – at least part of it. Hammerhead is a fantastic example. Back in 1997, developer Bram Bos created a software drum machine that sounded as good as any digital box at the time, ran on 90 MHz Windows PCs, and took half a brain to use. He also distributed it for free, departing from the established shareware model. It must have been in 1998, when a friend handed me a copy of Hammerhead on a second grade floppy drive and I remember clicking on it. Speeding up the pace was literally child’s play!
In the following decades, Bram Bos became better known for a colorful catalog of iOS music apps and plug-ins like Ruismaker. But his roots are not forgotten – neither by the geeks of the 90s, nor by “that guy from Hammerhead”, as the man himself puts it. Case in point – Bram Bos is remaking Hammerhead as an iOS app! I wonder why it took so long, but regardless – Hammerhead (mk2) will be out next week (June 17th).
Judging by the teasers, Bram is committed to bringing Hammerhead back in style. In addition to a complete touchscreen overhaul, the app has time-synchronized clip release (trigger patterns using MIDI), new effects section (Distortion, Compressor, Glitch, Mute), a media browser, a mixer, full sequencing, and app store for sounds and many other things I can’t understand. With all that in hand, the Hammerhead reset is much more than a nostalgia kick – it’s a modern electronic drum app from an O.G. If the Propellerheads had held the mighty ReBirth for just a few weeks, the Hammerhead would have been the first software drum machine.
Check out a quick clip of the new Hammerhead in action while waiting for release.
Here’s something fun. Hammerhead will allow you to trigger entire patterns using MIDI as if they were sampled loops (clip release!). Except they still adapt to tempo changes and mutations, etc. # June 17 #HammerheadDay pic.twitter.com/wRxZl4mQ8N
– Bram Bos (@bram_bos) June 10, 2021
And if you want to get an idea of what Hammerhead was like in 1997, head here or watch the video below.
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