Ikutaro Kakehashi, Founder Of Roland Drum Machines, Dies At 87

Ikutaro Kakehashi, Founder Of Roland Drum Machines, Dies At 87

Kakehashi was behind several popular drum machines including the iconic TR-808, which became a staple of electronic music and hip hop.

The engineer was the man behind the drum machine and synthesiser range used across a wide range of music.

It was with his next company, Roland, that he found massive success.

Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of the Japanese electronic instruments manufacturer Roland, has died at 87.

The sound of the TR-808 proved a game-changer in the 1980s and 90s.

Arguably his most famous drum machine was the iconic TR-808, which was used by hip-hop groups including the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J and Public Enemy.

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Born in 1930 in Osaka Prefecture, the Japanese engineer started his career repairing clocks and radios, later pursuing electronic instruments after he was asked by a church to fix an electric organ. He moved onto form the company Roland during the 1970s. After the war, he started a clock and watch-repair business that moved into radio fix. Beginning with the company Ace Tone he developed the first 'rhythm machine called the FR-1 Rhythm Ace in 1967, which boasted 16 preset patterns.

In the early '80s, Kakehashi worked with audio engineer and Sequential Circuits president Dave Smith to spearhead the develop of the MIDI standard, a protocol that allowed a wide variety of electronic instruments and devices to connect and communicate.

He started Roland in Osaka, Japan, in 1972.

Among the fans of Kakehashi's creations was the Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, which counts Academy Award-winning Ryuichi Sakamoto as one of its members.

Kakehashi published an autobiography, I Believe In Music, in 2002 and released the book An Age Without Samples: Originality and Creativity in the Digital World in 2017.

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