[AH] Re: Price for an EKO Compute Rhythm

From Wavecomputer360
Sent Tue, May 27th 2008, 00:25

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Hi Heath,

they are priceless, if you ask me. I know a guy who happened to come =
across one in a garage sale a year or two ago. He was actually looking =
for something else entirely and picked the EKO up... for a mere 100 =
Euros. I was offered an obscenely high price for mine which would have =
got me a nice set of Serge panels *very* easily, but I turned every =
offer down thus far (and probably will forever). He received quite some =
steep offers as well but he was insecure about selling it at all (he =
even phoned me and asked for advice).

For those who don=B4t know what it is, this fabled EKO Compute Rhythm, =
it was the first programmable rhythm unit ever made. It was first =
introduced in 1972 in a non-programmable form with significantly =
different panel arrangements (lights running from bottom to top, not =
from left to right). It featured a matrix of six rows of sixteen =
illuminated push buttons with two instruments per row which could be =
selected alternatively or at the same time. Depending on where you =
pushed a button within that matrix, an instrument would sound. Very much =
like the Simmons SDS-6 that was presented a decade later. Patterns could =
be stored on punchcards and later be inserted into a letterbox-slot to =
the upper right on the machine, and it would remember the pattern you =
had programmed previously. Originally, there were no trigger ins and =
outs but almost any machine I have seen was modded in order to sync it =
with external sequnecers (or trigger them, using the single rows as =
trigger generators). When listening to TD=B4s "Encore" I am quite sure =
this "PRX-2 Percussion Controller" Chris Franke was credited with was =
indeed an EKO, probably heavily modded.

Searching the net will yield some results, like this:


It has nothing to do with any of the later drum machines EKO built, like =
the Rhythmaker or the New Dream Box.

There were three different versions made. The first one was presented in =
1972 with the lights running "uphill", with the memory function =
apparently missing. The second series was made from about 1973 to 1975. =
This is the one that was used by Jarre and Manuel Gottsching / Ash Ra =
Tempel. I own one of these models, too. The third incarnation was =
produced around 1976/77 and it came in a significantly altered housing =
which looked slightly clumsy. To my knowledge, there was one of these =
prototypes from 1972 made, four of the second incarnation (Jarre=B4s, =
Gottsching=B4s -- which was originally purchased by Chris Franke, as =
I=B4ve been told --, a demo model shown at Frankfurt in 1975 with the =
EKO logo missing, and mine). There were a few more of the final series =
made, there are three that I know about. One is currently owned by a =
Dutch collector (this unit was originally owned by Matthias Becker, then =
gathered dust in a collection where it died, and then it ended up in =
another collection. Amazingly enough, it had serial number 149 =
embossed). Another one was originally owned by Dirk Matten of =
Synthesizerstudio Bonn/Banana fame which was sold to some guy who =
apparently ripped it apart and never got it going again. Then there=B4s =
the 100 Euro unit I mentioned above. About ten years ago I was offered a =
unit from a French collector who was asking 20,000 Deutschmarks (60,000 =
French Francs) for it. David Korn might be able to shed some light on =
this one. I know about two of these later units that were taken to the =
dumpster in the early 1990s, and rumour has it that EKO in their =
infinite wisdom destroyed the units they had had in stock unsold for =
many years.

There is quite a heap of info to be found in the AH archives, I think. =
If I were you I would not spend a single thought on getting one of these =
(imagine how utterly happy I was when I got mine...). All units I know =
of are owned by people who know about the value of the instrument (even =
if they don=B4t seem to appreciate it very much). I would expect =
something in the five-figures range, if one of these decides to let go =
of it at all. Like I said, they are rare artefacts, and I would never =
sell mine, no matter what sum I was offered. A Korg PS-3300, an RMI =
Harmonic Synthesiser, a PPG 360 prototype, or a Synton Syrinx would be =
*very* commonplace by comparison...

Hope that helps,



"Pay your respects to the vultures, for they are your future." (Jhonn =
Balance / Coil)

Finally available: Stephen Parsick -- Traces of the Past Redux, reissued =
with three previously unreleased bonus tracks. For more info please =
check www.parsick.com

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