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808

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Alexander Dunn

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About the Movie

Back in 1980 Japanese electronics manufacturer Roland released one of the most important musical instruments ever, the TR-808. Although it only led a limited life, the 808 became world renowned, its signature low end bass and unique sounds redefining the musical landscape. From hip hop to acid house, trap to pop, it drove a multitude of musical genres and inspired countless musicians to create seminal records that have defined modern hip hop and electronic music.Even if you don't already know the 808 by name, you will know its sound. It's a timeless icon that has touched almost every genre of music imaginable with a sound that is as relevant today as it ever was.Featuring interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, Beastie Boys, Pharrell Williams, David Guetta, Phil Collins, Richie Hawtin and many more, 808 is the inspirational story of how the 808's ground-shaking beats changed the musical world.

Customer Reviews

808! Wow!

I didn't realize the 808 changed the music scene the way it did until I watched this documentary. The interviews are great and informative - even the music that plays throughout the documentary was great and had my head bouncing. Be sure to check this one out!

808 Documentary is a both hit & miss...

Being a bonafide Native New Yorker, I was given a first hand experience of the emerging rap scene. Back then, rap music (not called hip hop back then) utilized both live bands, and electronics, sometimes a mixture of both--but regardless, the technology of the early 80's was strongly making it's presence known all over the musical landscape.
We all first heard the TR-808 on the seminal "Planet Rock" produced by Arthur Baker & John Robie--we knew it was referencing Kraftwerk and we embraced this, while realizing that this was a new overall sound and vibe.
Baker, co-produced this documentary, which is very appropriate given he might be the first producer to actually use an 808 on a commercially released recording.
For this reason, his partner John Robie's absence is quite disturbing.
Could he not get Robie for any particular reason? Robie was the sole instrumentalist on all Baker/Robie productions, and all of them featured the 808 quite prominently, and being very creatively processed during mixdown.

Another glaring ommission is West Coast electro pioneer Egypian Lover. I am guessing he had other plans or was on tour, because there is no reason to not have him in this documentary.
And while we are on the subject of California, where is Twilight 22?? "Siberian nights" & "Electric Kingdom" both 1984) are two of the best electro tracks ever in my opinion.

On the plus side, we do get Man Parrish discussing his masterpiece "Hip hop be bop" (1982), and we are treated to Rick Rubin's first record with TLA Rock-- "It's Yours" (1983), Strafe's club killer "Set it off" (1984), which ironically has Ben Cenac's 808 on it, on loan at the time) as well as one of the first "top 40" uses of an 808 with Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" (1982) (btw, the ENTIRE album features the 808 for it's drum tracks..a rarity, even back then).

In addition to these classics, we get a lovely reference to Baker/Robie's use of the IDENTICAL rhythm track from "Planet Rock", utilized for another blockbuster soul/electro hybrid "Play at your own Risk" by Planet Patrol.
After this, we move further into the timeline and learn about producers like Goldie & Felix Da Housecat (who, in almost Kanye West fashion claims to have created the "hottest 808 track in the last 12 years"--yeah right.)
At this point in the documentary, my interest started to wane. I would have much preferred to see John Robie, Egyptian Lover, and/or Ben "Cozmo D" Cenac, the founding member and driving force behind NEWCLEUS, who made two incredible albums in 1984 & 1985, the first of which utilized the 808 to great effect. (even though Ben admits he was not, and still not, that fond of the 808 sound in general).

I may be in the minority here, but to focus on artists who utilize SAMPLES of the 808 rather than the machine itself, sort of defeats the purpose for me. Maybe I am a bit purest in this regard, but if an artist has not utilized the actual machine in a production, I don't need to hear about them in a documentary such as this.

The last 10 minutes of the documentary make up for the previous 45 minutes of acid and techno however, as we get to meet Mr. Kakehashi, the founder of ROLAND!! We learn that the 808 was ultimately discontinued due to a faulty resistor that was no longer available! Great stuff indeed.

All in all, a solid documentary on perhaps the most genre defining instrument created in the last 40 years--it has literally changed the musical landscape and continues to.

Where is the Soundtrack?

This is an absolute beast of a documentary. Where is the soundtrack though?

808
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Music Documentaries
  • Released: 2016

Customer Ratings

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