Ikutaro Kakehashi, Roland Founder and Electronics Pioneer, Dead at 87
Bowing our heads to salute Ikutaro Kakehashi. The Roland founder and electronic pioneer died on April 1st at the age of 87. The music world has spilled over with gratitude and prayers for Kakehashi and his family in the days since.
Kakehashi, once an organ repairman, began his career developing early drum machines like the FR-1 Rhythm Ace at Ace Tone (a company he also founded) in the sixties. He'd go on to change music forevermore with Roland, where he'd trailblaze in the aughts of the electronic instrument industry, developing MIDI technology and legendary drum machines like Roland's 101, 303, 808 and 909, all of which are seminal to hip-hop's conception and progression, not to mention eighties r&b and the large chunk of post-millennium hip-hop, from Atlanta to Toronto.
Late last year, 808, a documentary helmed by Alexander Dunn, Alex Noyer and drum machine maven, Arthur Baker, charted the beloved kit's impact on the music world, through the eyes and ears of those it touched, including Questlove, Pharrell, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Needless to say, hip-hop and music at large owe Kakehashi an unpayable debt. Synth and TR-808 heavyweight, Egyptian Lover, summed it up : "Without you this world would not have been so cool." Head over to Amoeba Music to read the full statement.
RIP to a man that changed the game one circuit at a time.