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RIP Ikutaro Kakehashi
Eoin Murray , April 3rd, 2017 10:59

Founder of Roland synthesizers and electronic music pioneer has died aged 87

Ikutaro Kakehashi, who founded the Roland Corporation in 1972, has died aged 87.

The legendary engineer and entrepreneur who pioneered the ubiquitous TR-808 and 909 drum machines and TB-303 bass synthesiser had led Roland for 41 years until his retirement 2013.

Roland developer Tommy Snyder confirmed news of Kakehashi's death in a tribute posted via Facebook on April 1. He said: "He was a super funny, wonderful and gifted human being, and his contributions to the musical instrument world, and music, touched millions of people worldwide."

Kakehashi's drum machines and synthesisers inspired the evolution of genres from krautrock to hip-hop, house and techno and scores more between. Tributes have poured in across Twitter from artists indebted to his work.

The Black Madonna tweeted: "A great loss to human culture, robot music and spiritual machines. Godspeed Mr. Kakehashi and thank you."

Throbbing Gristle tweeted: "R.I.P Ikutaro Kakehashi founder of Roland."

Soft Cell's Marc Almond, whose 1981 hit 'Tainted Love' was in part defined by its use of Roland synths 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."

In January of this year, Kakehashi published An Age Without Samples: Originality and Creativity in the Digital World, while in 2013, he was awarded a Technical Grammy along with Dave Smith for his contributions to MIDI and electronic music technology.

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