Movement Systems Drum Computer

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Movement Systems Drum Computer II
Movement Computer Systems (MCS) Drum System II (or Percussion Computer II), circa 1981, United Kingdom - Knobcon 2014.jpg
Sir Ruff's Movement Drum Computer II at Knobcon, 2014. The garbled ASCII display was the result of intermittent OS booting issues. Of the few MSC-2s currently in existence, most have technical issues.
DeveloperJohn Dickenson
Dave Goodway
Release date1981 (MKI); 1983 (MKII) (1981 (MKI); 1983 (MKII)) [1]

The Movement Drum System I/II (generally referred to as the Movement MCS Percussion Computer) was a very rare British-made drum machine produced approximately between 1981 (MKI) and 1983 (MKII).


Both retailed at £1999.00 ex vat at March 1983 from 'Movement Audio Visual', 61 Taunton Road, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 3LP, UK. Both models combined two technologies; analogue synthesized drum sounds similar to Simmons SDS-V and basic digital 8-bit drum samples. In total 14 independent voice modules could be played (5 of which can be digital). Also notable for its computer-like design and its ability to display drum notes and sequencing graphically on a green black cathode ray tube display unit perhaps similar to page R on the Fairlight CMI. The Movement Drum Systems are known to have been expensive upon release, and it is estimated that approximately thirty were made.

The original designers were John Dickenson (owned the company Movement) and Dave Goodway. Dickenson supplied sounds and the idea (the design, look, how it should work, layout etc.) and Dave Goodway did the electronic side of the drum machine.

Its most famous user was David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics, who excelled in the use of this drum computer on their 1983 worldwide hit, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." The machine (MKI) makes an appearance in the video, in a scene in which singer Annie Lennox is seated on top of a table in a meadow, as Dave Stewart types on the Drum Computer's keyboard. In this video the version used is a two-piece type base unit and separate monitor (perhaps a prototype or the MKI model). This is the model that also appears briefly near the beginning of the video for "Love On Your Side" by Thompson Twins. Phil Collins used an orange smaller 'one piece' MKII. David Stewart also used this machine on the album Touch and soundtrack album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother). The last commercial track release on which the Eurythmics used this machine was on Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four). At this time the Eurythmics chose to use a lot of heavy ambient audio outboard processing to "beef-up" the rather mild and dated sound of this classic machine.

In 1984, Dave Goodway and Jonathan (JJ) Jowitt added MIDI to create an additional 8 track sequencer. Other hardware modifications, like battery-backed memory and disk drives, were added, but the operation was small (only a two-man team). Eventually, the big companies reigned supreme.

Vince Clarke currently owns a black version of the MK2 which was originally owned by Stewart of the Eurythmics, purchased for only £500 GBP.


In addition to the above, the drum machine was also used on the tracks and albums:

and has been used/owned by:


  1. ^ "Movement MCS Drum Computer". Vintage Synth Explorer.