Produced: 2013 – present
If the DSI Tempest demonstrates what can be achieved by upgrading and reinventing as many parts of a drum machine as possible, the Tanzbär (‘dancing bear’) represents the alternative approach: sticking to a very traditional formula but refining it with modern tech.
The first impression of the Tanzbär is that this is a very straightforward machine. There are no pressure-sensitive pads, OLED screens, ribbon controllers or complex synthesis architecture to contend with here. Instead, it’s a traditional setup of simple push-buttons, dedicated circuits for each of the drum sounds and rotary pots. Build quality is average at best, but as soon as you hook the machine up and begin to explore its sonic options you realise that the Tanzbär excels in the area which matters most: its sound.
MFB’s track record for producing analogue drum machines is excellent and the run continues here. There are hints of 808 and 909, but the sound is distinctive enough to give it a character of its own. There’s also lots of flexibility where it matters; circuits such as the hi-hats only offer limited adjustment, but the two kick drums and the snare are incredibly versatile.
Dig deeper into the more advanced sequencing features – some of which are admittedly a little fiddly and frustrating to access – and the Tanzbär reveals itself to be far more flexible than most of its analogue forebears. This is a drum machine whose retro appearance hides its modern approach to music making. A very different experience when compared to a Machinedrum or Tempest, but one which lends itself just as well to producing dance music.