Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of pioneering electronic instrument company Roland, has died aged 87.
Kakehashi’s influence on both the development of electronic music and the pop charts is enduring.
Following the founding of Roland in the 1970s, Kakehashi—an accomplished engineer—set his sights on developing a sophisticated electronic drum machine, which culminated with the release of iconic Roland TR-808 in 1980.
Unlike its contemporaries, which used recorded audio samples to help create drum sounds, the TR-808 was an entirely analogue instrument that used transistors to generate its sounds. While a commercial and critical flop on release, the TR-808 gained a cult following, quickly becoming the go-to drum machine for the nascent electronic dance and hip-hop scenes of the ’80s.
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