Roland, the Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, has announced faithful remakes of the iconic TB-303 bassline synthesizer, TR-909 drum machine, and VP-330 vocoder. The 303 and 909 in particular are revered in the worlds of house, acid, and techno, and are used on hundreds of records you know and love. Each have a distinct sound you can identify in a mix immediately. They're priced at $350-400, comparable to the low prices back when the gear was first released that made them attractive to unknown bedroom producers - while the originals go for thousands on the second-hand market today, affordable only for wealthy collectors and professionals. Peter Kirn dives in with impressions and offers a roundup of early comparisons and reviews. [more inside]
808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
The Silver Dream Machine: The synthesizer that accidentally changed the world.
303, 909, FX, MIXER = ACID VARSITY. In other words, two virtual 303s, a 909, effects and a mixer running for free right in your browser.
Bassline Bassline. Rock has its electric guitar, hip-hop has its turntable/mic, and electronic music has its Roland TB-303. One of the few single instruments that can claim to define the entire genre, its history is an interesting one: "Bassline Baseline is a video essay that investigates the invention, failure and subsequent resurrection of the mythic Roland TB-303 Bass Line music machine in the last two decades of the 20th century."