808 (image 1)

There’s a gold mine of material here for all manner of studio geeks, rap nerds and ravers.

Andrew Barker, Variety

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

808 2015

Directed by Alexander Dunn

This speaker-busting documentary celebrates the impressive legacy of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, whose ground-shaking futuristic beats have shaped the course of hip-hop and dance music history.

Japan/UK/USA In English
107 minutes DCP
Exempt

Director

Producers

Alex Noyer
,
Alexander Dunn
,
Craig Kallman
,
Arthur Baker

Screenplay

Alexander Dunn
,
Luke Bainbridge

Photography

Claudio Rietti
,
Stuart Birchall
,
Danny Vecchione

Editors

Alexander Dunn
,
Matthew Jarman
,
Stuart Birchall

Narrator

Zane Lowe

With

Afrika Bambaataa
,
Soulsonic Force
,
New Order
,
Diplo
,
Goldie
,
808 State
,
Norman Cook
,
Beastie Boys
,
Richie Hawtin
,
Todd Terry
,
Rick Rubin
,
Pharrell Williams
,
Pretty Tony
,
T La Rock
,
2ManyDJs
,
Armand Van Helden
,
Questlove
,
Strafe
,
Man Parrish
,
François K
,
Felix Da Housecat
,
Jam & Lewis
,
DJ Mr Mixx
,
Lady Tigra
,
Ian Lewis
,
Hank Shocklee
,
Tiga
,
Jori Hulkkonen
,
Phil Collins
,
Damon Albarn
,
Jim Jonsin
,
A Guy Called Gerald
,
Lil Jon
,
Tom Silverman
,
Chris Frantz
,
Jellybean Benitez
,
Mike Butcher

Festivals

SXSW 2015

Presented in Association With

George FM

From 80s pop and disco to old school hip-hop and electro, from techno and house to Miami bass and crunk, the Roland TR-808 drum machine has provided the boom-bastic low end for countless pop and dancefloor hits. Alexander Dunn’s stylish, genre-hopping survey of this unassuming machine’s epic influence on popular music calls on an impressive array of talking heads including the Beastie Boys, New Order, Rick Rubin, Lil Jon and lesser known bass pioneers like Man Parrish, Strafe and Dynamix II. Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker are on hand to discuss the creation of their electro classic ‘Planet Rock’, while Belgian DJs Soulwax show off their secondhand 808, still haunted with the distinctive rhythm of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ (perhaps programmed by the man himself?). Dunn even tracks down octogenarian Roland head honcho Kakehashi Ikutaro who explains the secret behind the 808’s unique sound and why the machine was never brought back into production after 1983 despite the increasing demand. Deftly mixed with a procession of bass-booming tracks, this is a doco that demands to be heard on the loudest sound system possible. — MM