The Roland “808” Documentary

‘808’ chronicles the story of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, a small but powerful piece of influential technology that changed the course of music history.

Introduced in 1980, the 808 fueled the creation of electro, hip-hop, and synthpop and continued into acid house, techno, drum & bass, and dubstep. More than three decades later, it remains a vital element in contemporary hip-hop and R&B as well as an ever-present influence on modern EDM and pop music.

The film is narrated by Zane Lowe and features superstars such as Pharrell Williams, Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, The Beastie Boys, Damon Albarn, David Guetta, Phil Collins, Diplo, New Order, and Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), as well as pioneering producers including Rick Rubin, Jellybean Benitez, Hank Shocklee, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

The filmmakers’ three-year-journey concludes in the 808’s birthplace of Japan, where Roland founder Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi at last reveals the untold reason for the machine’s mysterious early discontinuation, just as it was turning up on more hit records than any other drum machine.

The feature length documentary is available for download on the iTunes Store. The official soundtrack is available digitally & in vinyl alongside other exclusive 808 merchandise.

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