Ikutaro Kakehashi, Roland Founder, Dead at 87

Ikutaro Kakehashi, Roland Founder, Dead at 87

Ikutaro Kakehashi is a name you may have never heard in your life until today when his death was announced at 87-years-old. What you have heard, though, is the lasting impression he has had on the music industry and on the evolution of music as a whole. As the founder of companies Ace Tones and Roland, he is the father of electronic drums and was instrumental in the creation of electronic music in general.

Kakehashi's TR-808 Drum Machine

Whether it’s Marvin Gaye, Bassnectar, or Kanye West, the advancements in music that became possible as a result of Kakehashi’s innovations are far-reaching and ever-present. The TR-808, Roland’s groundbreaking drum machine, is the creation of Mr. Kakehashi.

It has not only been personally responsible for many of the best albums and songs in recent history (songs like “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreaks), but also been the gold standard to which all other drum machines aspired to be. Kakehashi was also responsible for the adoption of the MIDI standard.

Aside from being a force in musical innovation, Kakehashi, by all accounts, was a kind, funny, and caring friend. His long-time colleague Tommy Snyder wrote, “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. RIP dear Taro.”

The world will forever be indebted to Ikutaro Kakehashi for the everlasting impression he has made on music and the world. Without his innovations, it’s hard to say that we would be where we are now musically.

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