Earlier this year, I approached Red Bull Music Academy Daily with the idea of writing a feature focused on Roland’s SH-101 mono-synth. They loved the idea, and decided to use it as an excuse to launch a new series of articles on iconic and important pieces of musical hardware. They decided that they wanted to launch the Instrumental Instruments series not with my ‘101’ piece, but rather an article on the drum machine that defined house and techno: the Roland TR-909.
I had no hesitation in taking on that commission. I’ve long been intrigued by the way that technology shapes culture, and the TR-909 did more than most to dramatically alter the way things were going. You can read my feature at the RBMA Daily site right now. It includes contributions from Phuture’s DJ Pierre, Neil Landstrumm, Kevin Saunderson and Altern8’s Mark Archer, amongst others. There’s also a brilliant accompanying radio documentary loosely based on my article, and including excerpts from some of my interviews.