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Ikutaro Kakehashi: Roland founder and 'godfather of MIDI' dies aged 87

Laura  Barnes
Ikutaro Kakehashi: Roland founder and 'godfather of MIDI' dies aged 87

Japanese music pioneer and Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi has died at the age of 87.

The engineer was the man behind the drum machine and synthesiser range used across a wide range of music.

His iconic TR-808 drum machine is a staple of hip-hop, electronic and dance music, and can be heard in an abundance of notable hits from the likes of Kanye West, Portishead, The Prodigy, New Order, Dr Dre, Kraftwerk, Soft Cell and many more.

Tommy Snyder, a former adviser to Roland’s research and development team, revealed Kakehashi had died on Facebook.
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“Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland, father of the TR-909,TR-808, Godfather of MIDI, and someone who I have collaborated with for 38 years, and also considered him as my 2nd father, passed away at the age of 87,” reads Snyder’s post.

“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.”

Kakehashi founded the Roland Corporation in 1972 and received a technical Grammy in 2013 for contributions to electronic music technology.

Before leading Roland for 40 years, Kakehashi founded amplifier brand Ace Tone in the 1960s.

Tags: Roland , Ikutaro Kakehashi , obituary , TR-808

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