Alexander Dunn's documentary "808" will finally be available to watch exclusively via Apple from December onwards. Roland TR-808 is probably the most important piece of gear when it comes to electronic music and its beginnings. It was originally built in the early 80's as a tool for studio musicians to re-create the sound of the real drums but the 808's drum sounds, created by running an electrical current through transistors, sounded very little like the real thing. So the drum machine went into commercial free-fall. After that, a new generation of producers emerged and with units at low prices, relatively cash-strapped producers picked them up, and here the legend begins. Due to its ability to program rhythm and drum sounds separately and store up to 32 patterns, 808 became an unforgettable piece of gear and a must when it comes to electronic music.
Apple to stream it first
The film isn’t so much the story of the drum machine itself as it is its musical transmission. So there are numerous celebrities talking about the machine’s musical influence, Fatboy Slim, Afrika Bambaataa, Richie Hawtin, Phil Collins and many others.
The movie premiered originally in 2014 and has shown at film festivals since, but Apple’s streaming deal gives it exclusive access to a hip bit of musical history.