In memoriam of Ikutaro Kakehashi (1930-2017)

Notice of death of one the most impressive personalities in synthesizer history. Ikutaro Kakehashi, who died on the 1st of April 2017 at the age of 87, had an amazing life.

After completing an apprenticeship as a watch-maker, Ikutaro, who was fascinated by the American sound of the 50s, started to build home organs. Following his first company Ace Electronic, he founded ROLAND in 1972. That’s THE Roland – one of the most famous synthesizer names today.

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Among the legendary Roland products are System-700, SH-101, Jupiter-8, D-50, JD-800, V-Synth, TB-303, TR-808 and TR-909 and many others. Roland made electronic music history – think of the modular systems, synthesizers, drum-computers and performance tools – and the ROLAND SOUND has shaped the last 40 years as no other company has been able to.

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Kakehashi left Roland in 2013. Looking at the Roland products of the present day, his leaving the company marks a clear turning point. We can’t imagine Kakehashi would have been really happy with those dainty synths à la Boutique Series or those plastic turntables with a 909 logo.

All the more reason to commemorate him now for his life’s work, and to thank him for his tireless efforts in creating highest quality instruments.

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Kakehashis memoirs “I Believe In Music” appeared in 2002. The book is still availabe (and recommended) …

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“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman, Synthesizers.com, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Synthesizers.com, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.