Forgotten Artifacts: Per Hammar’s Soviet Analog Drum Machine, The Formanta UDS

Forgotten Artifacts explores the vintage gear found in studios around the world. This time, Swedish dance music luminary Per Hammar discusses the gritty sound behind his Soviet-era analog drum module, the Форманта УДС (Formanta UDS).

3 min
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Jul 15, 2020
Per Hammar

For my favorite forgotten artifact, I’ve chosen the Форманта УДС (Formanta UDS). It’s a drum machine from the Soviet Union, created in 1986. Clocks in on a good 15kg or so. When I bought it, the shipping from Ukraine was more expensive than the actual machine!

Originally it was meant to be triggered by drum pads. But since these pads send 5v electricity, just like any other trig signal, it’s possible to send whatever audio signal to the different “drums” to get sounds.

It’s not in any way close to any traditional drum sounds, but more like a selection of noisy tones from space. I love it because of its dirtiness and wilderness. It’s hard to tame when the tone and noise generator shoots off in different directions, and I love that.

It’s a perfect match to integrate with the Euro Rack Modular system at those times I need to add a dose of Soviet grit into the recipe as we all do from time to time. Or just send it into a low pass filter with an envelope to get some nasty bass lines.

Check out Per Hammar’s ‘Finding The Path’ chart over at Beatport.
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Only the imagination sets limits here…oh, and your physical strength, if you need to carry it anywhere.

On my new album Pathfinder LP, I used it on the track “Inter City“. It can be heard in the middle of the clip. How I would normally use it, and on this track, in particular, is I do a long recording where I choose in which frequency the tone should start and end. Then I manually mix in and out the noise generator.

There is a filter on every” drum” channel too, but I prefer to use an external one, so I leave it open. You can’t modulate anything except when the tone should sound, so you can’t sleep here. You have to present and make manual variations.

Sometimes I forget some of the features on the machine, so I printed some Dymo labels out for it, and now it flows!

Per Hammar’s debut album – Pathfinder LP – is out now via his Dirty Hands imprint.

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