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Ikutaro Kakehashi (1930 - 2017)

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Ikutaro Kakehashi (1930 - 2017)

Ikutaro Kakehashi, the music innovator who founded the instrument company Roland Corp., died Saturday, April 1, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 87.

Tommy Snyder, a former adviser for Roland, reported his death.

Kakehashi founded the Roland Corp. in 1972. They developed instruments that changed the face of the music industry.


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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.

The TR-808 came out in 1980 and can be heard on records by major 1980s bands like New Order and Depeche Mode. The 808 was used on the new-wave hit “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.

The drum machine has been featured by many hip-hop artists including Dr. Dre, the Beastie Boys, and Run-DMC. 

Roland synthesizers were the primary instrument of popular electronica bands including Aphex Twin and the Prodigy, and can be heard on the opening of the Marvin Gaye hit “Sexual Healing.”

After learning of Kakehashi’s death, many musicians paid tribute to the music pioneer.

Marc Almond of Soft Cell tweeted, “A man who changed Music Ikutaro Kakehashi the Man behind the Roland Synth,808 and more has sadly passed. Thanks for the Electro sounds.”

Martyn Ware, who played keyboards for the Human League, told the BBC: "Roland was central to everything that we did for the whole of the first two albums – they featured on every track."

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