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Roland TR-808: Summer of Love 88-89 Edition
Release Date
August 17, 2018

Celebrating thirty years since the beginning of acid house and rave culture in the UK, design and art studio Entwurf have designed this Roland TR-808: Summer of Love 88-89 edition screenprint to celebrate the key drum machine that became the true sound of this movement.

As Entwurf explains: "The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer (a.k.a. the "808") was one of the first programmable drum machines ("TR" standing for Transistor Rhythm). Introduced by the Roland Corporation in early 1980, it was originally manufactured for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demos. Like earlier Roland drum machines, it does not sound very much like a real drum kit. Indeed, because the TR-808 was released a few months after the Linn LM-1 (the first drum machine to use digital samples), professionals generally considered its sound inferior to sampling drum machines; a 1982 Keyboard Magazine review of the Linn Drum indirectly referred to the TR-808 as sounding like marching anteaters. However, the TR-808 cost US$1,195 upon its release, which was considerably more affordable than the US$5,000 LM-1.

Drum machines, in general, became an integral part of hip-hop music as a cheap and simple way of producing a drum sound. The Roland TR-808 held specific appeal because of the ability of its bass drum sound to produce extremely low-frequency sounds. It also featured various unique artificial percussion sounds that characterized the TR-808: a deep bass kick drum, tinny handclap sounds, the ticky snare, the tishy hi-hats (open and closed) and the spacey cowbell. The Roland TR-808 would eventually be used on more hit records than any other drum machine and has thus attained an iconic status within the music industry. The machine's successor was the Roland TR-909.

The TR-808’s unique sound and analog allure have allowed it to find a long-lasting home in many forms of music. Ultimately, the 808 has become one of the more important and famous drum machines in the history of music."


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