Roland’s TR-808 drum-machine is the stuff of legends; the sail that’s carried innovation in hip-hop and sampling at large since it broke off the assembly line in 1980 . Even now (30 years since it’s discontinuation in 1984) we find ourselves both going back to old cuts from Afrika Bambaataa to see how he worked his intergalactic voodoo with that foundational machine and finding the vestiges of his search for the perfect beat in everything that we hear. But there are so many inquiries that arise from that pursuit that have yet to be addressed, like the reason for its inexplicable decommissioning and why that particular bed of kicks, snares and hi-hats was the one that took.
Luckily for us, there’s a proper chronicle in the works that is poised to reveal the hidden origins of that mystical mechanism, with everyone from Bam to Roland’s founder Ikutaro Kakehashi, to Questlove, Pharrell, Rick Rubin, Phil Collins and literally the gamut of musicians and pioneers of production that have taken solace in the spacey funk of the 808 kit. The 808 documentary will land at some point in 2015 with a necessary accompanying score, so be sure to check back for al the details as they come to surface. In the meantime, get familiar with all the (okay) players in the trailer for the film below.