It’s the mid 1970s. The ‘Home Organ’ craze was in full swing, with Lowreys and Bontempis flying out of the dealerships into countless family homes. Their marketing strategies focused on the concept of ‘auto-accompaniment’: built-in bassline generators and beatboxes providing a primitive ‘band’ backing on the cheap.
Enter the ‘Bandmaster Powerhouse’, designed to accompany the solo performer- but instead of lifeless electronic loops it provided the sound of a (tireless) live drummer, playing in the popular cheesy styles of the time. Genius!
It’s a clear descendent of the ‘tron’ family of instruments, most closely the Chamberlin Rhythmate, in that it plays back tape loops. In the Powerhouse’s case, these loops come on 8-Track cartridges. They’re nice and long; 1 to 2 minutes. It shipped with 8 tapes, each one containing 8 (mono) loops, which you can select between by using the different buttons on the front panel of the unit.
Check out one of the rhythms 'Funky Beat' for example:
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It being the ‘70s, the Powerhouse loops were recorded dry, crunchy and, due to the tape, have a smattering of hiss. The sounds are useable in all kinds of modern music production. Hip-Hop obviously, but also Soul and production music, where you might need to recreate anything from the sound of an old jazz song to retro latin/exotica styles.
The loops are presented in their full duration in 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV format. Recorded from two professionally-restored machines and two full sets of tapes, to have the best 'quality' to choose from.
So that's 64 x 1-minute long live drum and percussion loops in total. Direct from the 1970s.
Have a look at the demo video to hear a wider selection of the Powerhouse Breaks (with my own musical accompaniment added on top):