July 5, 2020 § Leave a comment
The Elka Drummer One is now ready for shipping, and it has struck me that had this happened to me a couple of years ago, I would have been really annoyed. I would have thought of how this was going to set me back in my album-making, and why had the pots failed, and when would the machine be back, etc, etc. Instead, because of life lessons learnt over the past few years, my reaction is: OF COURSE, it’s completely normal and to be expected that my half-century old Elka should have a few pot problems, even after being revised a couple of years ago. Since then the Elka has kept aging, just like I have, and therefore, its parts can – and will – fail, just like mine have – and will.
For personal and health reasons, the Elka has come to symbolize for me how utterly unrealistic it is to expect things to be in a permanent working order in our lives, and even more unrealistic the idea that if we can just obtain that *one* thing that’s still missing, then it will all be perfect: when I got the Elka in the summer of 2018, after being obsessed with it for several months (its rarity and the difficulty in obtaining it making it all the more desirable), I was convinced that once I had it in my setup, I would be making a new album in next to no time, because I felt so inspired, and I had also been donated gear by Moog, so what could go wrong? Well, I got the Elka, I have my dream setup, and guess what? It’s summer 2020 and my album is nowhere near completion. It’s getting there, but this is so far from my hope of the summer of 2018 that I just have to shake my head and laugh, because that’s just the way life is, whether I like it or not.
End of Sunday psychological-philosophical rant, now a few words about the photos: the amazingly-textured side panel, which even boasts a fleck that looks eerily like a raptor, the top side of the circuit (with the yellow on the left), and the underside again – please admire that beautiful black and grey patina on the back panel, it really reminds me of the Barcelona nightsky during its impressive summer thunderstorms!
July 1, 2020 § Leave a comment
A few days ago, I was on a mission to try and solve the problem of scratchy pots that had developed on my Elka Drummer One. My instructions: squeeze two drops of the professional cleaner supplied to me by Soundgas into the tiny gap you can see on each problematic pot’s mechanism. I was so nervous that I actually tried to squeeze the drops *without* the tiny tube being pierced, for a good 30 seconds. I then had to turn the pot “at least 15 times”, then repeat the operation. I actually turned the pots 30 times the first time, and then 30 times again the second time, going up to 50 for the two really scratchy ones: the bass drum and the short cymbal. I then had to reassemble the Elka, and test again.
I held my breath as I armed the record function on my DAW. Out of the 5 pots, 3 had become perfectly clean, but the bass drum and short cymbal were *exactly* the same.
This means that I’ve just had to pack the Elka so that it can go undergo a transplant operation at Soundgas headquarters, and I’m not really joking about the transplant thing: Gid told me the “new” (ie 50 year-old!) pots would have to come from a “donor machine”, so I asked him what that meant, wondering if I was missing a joke somehow, and I’ve learnt this is “the term we use for a machine that is giving (“donating”) its parts for spares to keep others going”. Isn’t that amazing?
More thoughts on the beautiful fragility of gear and instruments soon.