Ikutaro Kakehashi: Japanese music legend, 808 creator dies

R.I.P. Ikutaro Kakehashi

Pioneering electronic instrument engineer and entrepreneur Ikutaro Kakehashi has died at the age of 87.

Numerous members of the music world have taken to Twitter to pay their respects, including Hudson Mohawke, Vince Staples, Darude and The Black Madonna among others. Kakehashi was behind the creation of the Roland TR-808 drum machine and the TB-303 synthesizer, which quickly became the backbone of the emerging genres of both hip hop and electronic dance music. Since then, Roland instruments have graced the stage of top artists from Lady Gaga to Omar Hakim.

He was also a co-inventor of the MIDI standard in the early 1980s with Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits, a development that earned both a Technical Grammy Award in 2013.

Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of music tech company Roland and its ubiquitous drum machine the TR-808, has passed away at the age of 87.

In the same year, Kakehashi left Roland and set up the new digital instrument company ATV, reportedly because of a clash with Roland management. Despite the success and popularity of the instruments, Kakehashi never received any formal musical training.




ATV declined to give details about his death, citing the family's wishes for privacy.

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Kakehashi and Roland created game changing synthesizers and the legendary TR-808 drum machine that has been used by a plethora of artists in pop music.

Mr. Kakehashi always stressed that the advent of electronic music was not at odds with acoustic instruments nor was it trying to undermine the rich legacy of music.

Kakehashi continued to work on developing devices to play electronic music. "I believe the ways of musical expression have expanded".

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