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Watch a retrospective documentary on the Roland TR-808

Revealing the unique history behind the impactful drum machine

  • Harrison Williams
  • 16 December 2016

A new documentary titled 808, chronicling the history of the influential Roland TR-808 drum machine, has just been released.

In order to showcase the impact this hardware had on the entire music industry, the documentary features a collection of interviews from key figures like Richie Hawtin, Rick Rubin, The Beastie Boys, Damon Albarn, Questlove, Fatboy Slim, Diplo, New Order and many more.

Over the course of three years, filmmakers also journeyed to the 808’s birthplace of Japan to meet with Roland founder Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi, offering insight into the reason behind the machine’s mysterious early discontinuation at a time when its popularity was increasing.

The 808 documentary’s narrator, Zane Lowe, expressed his excitement for being part of this new project: “The 808 has left an impactful mark on my life. It's been the driving force for so many of my favorite records, and I jumped at the chance to be involved. I wanted to learn more about how this incredible drum machine came to exist, and it’s been exciting to hear other people’s stories and what it means to them. It’s the magic ingredient.”

View a clip from 808 below, featuring bits of interviews with Richie Hawtin, The Beastie Boys and Rick Rubin, and watch the full documentary here.

Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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