Roland founder, digital music pioneer Ikutaro Kakehashi dies

R.I.P. Ikutaro Kakehashi

Roland founder, digital music pioneer Ikutaro Kakehashi dies

Roland developer Tommy Snyder, among others, have confirmed his passing on Facebook.

After losing a controlling interest in Ace, he left the company in 1972 and founded Roland.

Kakehashi's drum machines and synthesisers inspired the evolution of genres from krautrock to hip-hop, house and techno and scores more between.

Kakehashi was born in Osaka in 1930.

Ikutaro Kakehashi, the Japanese engineer who founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp. and had a defining impact on shaping the sound of electronic, hip-hop and dance music, has died.

Kakehashi's drum machine - officially the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, but known to musicians and listeners as simply the 808 - was by no means his only accomplishment. Despite barriers to formal education, he pursued an engineering career that included watch and radio fix before he started developing amplifiers and electric organs in the 1950s. This led to his founding of Ace Tone, where he made early versions of drum machines, with pre-set rhythms that were eventually incorporated into Hammond organs. It was doing so that he considered how electronic sounds could be taken further. The device was popularized by early hits such as Marvin Gaye's hit Sexual Healing (1982) and Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force's groundbreaking Planet Rock (1982). Later it would become the focal point of Kanye West's "808s and Heartbreak" album, as well as being used in songs by Beastie Boys, Outkast and Talking Heads. Kakehashi, who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday, April 3, 2017.

"The options have widened", Kakehashi said of electronic music at a Roland seminar in 2012.

In January of this year, Kakehashi published An Age Without Samples: Originality and Creativity in the Digital World, while in 2013, he was awarded a Technical Grammy along with Dave Smith for his contributions to MIDI and electronic music technology.

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