The music world lost one of its more influential behind the scenes players in Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehshi. The death was made public in a post made by Tommy Snyder, a former advisor for Roland, in a Facebook post on Saturday. The post by Snyder can be seen below.
Kakehshi was 87 when he passed away and in his time he accomplished more for music then most people could imagine. He founded the Japanese electronic instruments company back in 1872. Roland would go on to make some of the most influential instruments in music. These instruments include the System 700 modular synthesizer, the TB-303 bassline synthesizer, the TR-909 and the TR-808 drum machine. The latter was arguably the most important of all of the companies creations, developed in 1980. An image of this legendary music tool can be found below. If you are wondering why the number “808” is sounding familiar, the 2008 Kanye West album titled 808s & Heartbreak features the Roland creation on every one of its tracks, “Love Lockdown” is a prime example found below. As reported by Fortune, Kakehashi also contributed to the development of the MIDI standard for interoperability between electronic music equipment.
The 808 was originally developed a a backing for musicians that needed a fill in. So it was an absolute suprise to Kakehshi and his co-creators when the machine was became such a phenomenon with in early hop hop and dance music. by the end of the 90s the instrument became the most iconic product to emerge from Roland.
Kakehashi was born in 1930 in Osaka. He started his engineering career as a watch and radio repair man before he changed his attention in 1950. He stopped with watch and radio and turned to the development of amplifiers and electric organs. At the age of 20 he worked under the Ace Electronic brand name and later helped to found the Japan branch of the organ manufacturer Hammond.
He would end up leaving Ace in 1972 after losing a controlling interest in the company that would motivate him to go on and start his career with Roland.