The top panel also featured
controls for tempo plus various sliders for setting the level of
the cymbal and balance between the bass and snare drum.
There were several models in the 'Mini Pops' range, each one offering
more or less functionality and in different form factors (i.e. cases),
some resembling the later Roland CR78.
Although an interesting drum machine at the time, by all accounts,
this little beatbox would probably have disappeared into obscurity
had it not been for one very eminent user who featured the MP7 on
his debut album before going on to become arguably the world's most
flamboyant synth performers.
That's right - the MP7 was the rhythmic driving force behind Jean-Michel
Jarre's seminal synth album "Oxygene" which, as we know,
went on to enjoy huge world-wide success and, of course, spawned
a host of successive albums (in which his Mini Pops played no less
However, Jean-Michel exploited a 'bug' on the box that set his
use of the unit apart from your typical cabaret club organist...
By pressing two or more of the preset buttons, it was possible
to combine patterns thus allowing triplet-based patterns to be overlaid
with, say, a more conventional 4/4 pattern as well as other poly-rhythmic
abuses. This was a flaw in the design but in this way, Jarre was
able to make his MP7 transcend its inherent limitations (though
quite how he synced it up to his sequencers is a mystery!).
REM also used a Mini Pops on their track "Everybody Hurts"
and my understanding is that a Mini Pops was also the drum machine
of the fledgling Liverpool band, OMD and was featured on their hit
'Enola Gay' amongst others.
The full set of sixteen sounds from an original Korg MP7 is featured
here and donated by one Tim Callaghan of www.snare.org.uk.
I am extremely grateful for the care and attention Tim and his mate
Dave have taken in providing these authentic beatbox sounds and
rescuing it from obscurity.