A warm and laid-back drum machine from Poland • Transistor-based analogue circuitry • 16 preset rhythms, each with a second bar variation to add interest • Rhythm presets can be freely combined for wonderful, wonky, Afro-Disco-Boogie styles
Rytm16 is sampled from the Unitra Eltra Rytm 16 preset drum machine – a transistor-based analogue soundbox haling from Poland in the late 70s. The original Rytm 16 is an endearing little box of tricks, comprising 16 preset rhythms each of which plays out over two bars, with slight variation in the second bar. The presets themselves are rather fun: not only the usual suspects (Bossa Nova, Cha Cha… you know the kind of deal) but also Afro, which is great, and not one, not two, but five different kinds of Disco beat. Yeah, definitely made at the end of the 70s, then…
While the original allows only control over volume and tempo, Rhythmic Robot’s version ropes in individual kit pieces (with pan) plus some useful effects to add some versatility to the beats: tube saturation, buss compression, some drive distortion and a convolved vintage plate reverb all help to seat the sound of the Rytm16 in the mix.
It’s a warm, mellow kind of a sound, with interesting use of percussion kit pieces (cabasa, bongos and a little clicky side-stick all play their parts) ideally suited to downtempo styles – the Disco presets, for all their name suggests, don’t have the downbeat thud necessary to get your kipper tie a-flappin’, though they can sound really nice layered in on top of a more typical 808-style kick.
This is a neat little rhythm machine that really comes into its own when used in combination, as an extra layer to add complexity and warmth to something more basic. Plus, you can have as many onboard presets engaged at one time as you like, for mega-mashup combos that defy logic and convention! Afro-Boogie-Disco… no-one’s stopping you. Go where your heart, and your flares, take you.