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Farewell Ikutaro Kakehashi, initiator of the MIDI standard.

Ikutaro Kakehashi (梯 郁太郎, born in Osaka February 7, 1930) was an engineer, an entrepreneur, and the founder of Ace Tone, Roland Corporation and ATV, Japanese manufacturers of electronic musical instruments. He is known for his role in the development of Ace Tone and Roland drum machines and the MIDI standard.

In 1964, he developed a hand-operating electronic drums, called the R1 Rhythm Ace. It was exhibited at Summer NAMM 1964, however not commercialized.

In 1967, he developed the preset rhythm-pattern generator using diode matrix circuit, a drum machine where a “plurality of inverting circuits and/or clipper circuits are connected to a counting circuit to synthesize the output signal of the counting circuit” and the “synthesized output signal becomes a desired rhythm.”

Ace Tone commercialized his preset rhythm machine, called the FR-1 Rhythm Ace, in 1967. It offered 16 preset patterns, and four buttons to manually play each instrument sound (cymbal, claves, cowbell and bass drum). The rhythm patterns could also be cascaded together by pushing multiple rhythm buttons simultaneously, and the possible combination of rhythm patterns were more than a hundred (on the later models of Rhythm Ace, the individual volumes of each instrument could be adjusted with the small knobs or faders). The FR-1 was adopted by the Hammond Organ Company for incorporation within their latest organ models. In the US, the units were also marketed under the Multivox brand by Peter Sorkin Music Company, and in the UK, marketed under the Bentley Rhythm Ace brand. The Bentley-branded Rhythm Ace inspired the 1997 Birmingham band Bentley Rhythm Ace when a model was found at a car boot sale. The unique artificial sounds characteristics of the FR-1 were similar to the later Roland rhythm machines, and featured on electropop music from the late 1970s onwards.

In the 1970s, he founded Roland and continued the development of drum machines, including the Roland CR-78 and the iconic Roland TR-808.
In June 1981, Kakehashi proposed the idea of standardization to Oberheim Electronics founder Tom Oberheim, who then talked it over with Sequential Circuits president Dave Smith. In October 1981, Kakehashi, Oberheim and Smith discussed the idea with representatives from Yamaha, Korg and Kawai.[3] The MIDI standard was unveiled by Kakehashi and Smith, who both later received Technical Grammy Awards in 2013 for their key roles in the development of MIDI.

In 1991, based upon his contribution to the development and popularization of electronic instruments, Kakehashi was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, U.S.A. In 2000 he left his handprints on the Rock Walk Hall of Fame in Hollywood. In 2013 he received a Technical Grammy Award, shared with Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits, for the invention of MIDI. Kakehashi retired from Roland in 2013.

In 2014, Kakehashi founded the ATV Corporation. Together with Paulo Caius, former CEO of Roland Iberia, Founder and CEO of Roland Systems Group EMEA, Makoto Muroi, a prestigious research engineer for music and audiovisuals, also former President of the Roland Systems Group Japan, Mark Tsuruta, former CEO of Roland Audio Development USA and Glenn Dodson, previous CEO of Roland Australia, they’ve decided to start again with a dedicated and experienced team. ATV has been growing since; with a vast team of experienced engineers focused on providing the market with brilliant and exciting new products in both market fields.

In 2002 Kakehashi published his autobiography, titled I Believe In Music, and was also featured as a biography in the book The Art of Digital Music.

Highlights:
1930 - Born in Osaka, Japan.
1954 - Started Kakehashi Radio electrical appliance store
1960 - Founded Ace Electronic Industries Inc.
1967 - Patented “Automatic Rhythm Performance Device” drum machine
1972 - Founded Roland Corporation and became president
1983 - Unveiled MIDI standard
1988 - Roland purchased Rodgers Organ Company renamed Rodgers Instruments fulfilling Kakehashi’s lifelong dream to build large classical organs
1994 - Founded Roland Foundation and became chairman
1995 - Appointed chairman of Roland Corporation
2001 - Resigned chairman’s position and appointed Special Executive Adviser of Roland Corporation
2013 - Received technical Grammy (along with Dave Smith) for inventing MIDI
2013 - Retired from Roland Corporation
2014 - Founded ATV Corporation

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On this day in music history: April 28, 1979 - “Heart Of Glass” by Blondie hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, it is the first chart topping single for the New York City based new wave/rock band fronted by lead singer Debbie Harry. Debbie and Chris originally write the song in late 1974 - early 1975 as “Once I Had A Love” with a reggae flavored arrangement. It continues to evolve as they retool the sound of the song, giving it a slow “four on the floor” disco beat, then re-titling it “The Disco Song”. Producer Mike Chapman along with the band give it a dramatic makeover employing the use of synthesizers (Moog Polymoog, Roland SH-1000, the latter being triggered off the CR-78) and the Roland CR-78 drum machine which gives the song its signature “ticking” pulse. Released as the second single from the bands third album “Parallel Lines” on January 3, 1979, “Heart Of Glass” creates an immediate sensation on the dance floor that quickly spreads to radio. Entering the Hot 100 at #84 on February 17, 1979, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The huge success of “Heart Of Glass” is a double edged sword for Blondie as they are accused of “selling out” by their fellow musicians on the New York punk and new wave scene for having made “a disco song”. “Heart Of Glass” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2016.

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On this day in music history: February 28, 1981 - “Don’t Stop The Music” by Yarbrough & Peoples hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #19 on the Hot 100 on April 11, 1981. Written by Jonah Ellis, Alisa Peoples and Lonnie Simmons, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the Dallas, TX based R&B duo. Consisting of keyboardist Cavin Yarbrough and lead vocalist and keyboardist Alisa Peoples, the pair have known each other since childhood, when both took piano lessons from the same teacher. They remain lifelong friends, eventually forming a duo after Yarbrough works as touring musician for Leon Russell, during which time he meets Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson of The Gap Band. The Wilson brothers are instrumental in Yarbrough & Peoples signing to producer Lonnie Simmons’ Total Experience Records. Once they are under contract, Simmons has Cavin and Alisa work with songwriter and musician Jonah Ellis on their debut album. Originally titled “When The Music Stops”, Ellis comes up with the basic structure of the song on guitar and a Roland CR-78 drum machine. Simmons suggests a title change, as well as changing the bass line and keyboards during recording. Ellis also brings in drummer Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett (The Jacksons, Madonna) to play live drums on top of the programmed drum track, and The Waters on background vocals. Released as a single in November of 1980, “Don’t Stop The Music” quickly becomes a huge hit on R&B radio. Its success in that format is so great that it unexpectedly crosses over to Top 40 pop radio. During a period when many R&B artists have been effectively “blacklisted” from pop radio airplay in the years following the end of the Disco Era, Yarbrough & Peoples’ crossover success is a significant feat, especially for a new artist. The success of the single also sends the duos debut album “The Two Of Us” to number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number sixteen on the Top 200, and going Gold in the US. “Don’t Stop The Music” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

But honestly, this episode made me so nostalgic for the most irrelevant reasons. They went back to Greyskull Keep, finally home again. Victor got some surprise lines. They ran through tunnels ruined by lava, with descriptions that felt similar to tunnels that Vox Machina navigated during that first arc in the Underdark. They even managed to beat a door, their worst enemy, in two blows. And in the next episode, they finally face Thordak. I know most of that was unintentional and me seeing things that weren’t there, bu it just really felt like they came full circle, and they’re ready for this next episode to be IT.

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On this day in music history: January 30, 1982 - “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Daryl Hall & John Oates hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on January 23, 1982. Written by Daryl Hall, John Oates, and Sara Allen, it is the fourth chart topping single for the blue eyed soul pop/rock duo from Philadelphia, PA. Recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, the song is inspired by an in studio jam by the duo leading to the basic track being cut on the spot. Hall completes the lyrics with his long time girlfriend Allen the next day. Originally cut with keyboards (primarily a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 synthesizer), guitar and a Roland CR-78 drum machine, Hall & Oates attempt to cut the song again using live drums. When the track loses its “slinky feel”, they go back to the original rhythm track. Issued in early November of 1981 as the follow up to “Private Eyes”, it quickly becomes another smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on November 14, 1981, it climbs to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. “I Can’t Go For That” unseats Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” from the top of the pop chart, ten weeks after it had replaced “Eyes” at number one. “I Can’t Go For That” is also a smash on R&B radio and on club dance floors, becoming one of the rare instances of a white pop artist crossing over and topping the R&B singles chart. The song is also widely sampled, covered, and its hook being interpolated into songs by numerous artists including De La Soul, 2 Live Crew, Heavy D., Above The Law, Brian McKnight, Tamia, and Simply Red. “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.