There are few musical instruments that have affected the course of modern music like the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer. The term ‘808’ has an immediate sonic, electronic and aesthetic signature. Inside the all-analog monster lies a big, booming BASS of a kick drum that driver a robotic clap, a brash cowbell and sizzling cymbals for a future-symphonic rhythm track. Combined with its bold black body, scrolling light and sixteen iconic-colored sequencer buttons, the TR-808 will always be unmistakable in its form and function. The day the TR-808 fell into the hands of visionary musicians and producers became the day that the idiosyncratic sound of the 808 found its voice. The 808 imparted a lasting impression on popular, electronic, hip-hop and R&B music. But perhaps its greatest legacy is that “808” means so many things to so many people. A simple rhythm box described by three-digits managed to transcend musical genres and reach a place of cultural significance. Its spirit and sound resonates to this day, inspiring new music and sub-genres with each generation of visionary. And so the cycle continues – much like its driving, looping patterns – forging a new path into the rhythmic future.
From Roland Rhythm Composer TR-08 box.