With an interactive website, anniversary editions, and teases of upcoming items, Roland takes us through the history of musical creativity.
Roland Corporation was formed in 1972 in Osaka, Japan, and has since invented and constructed some of the world’s most recognizable electronic musical instruments. From early TR drum machines through Space Echoes, organs, and guitar amps, to the 1976 System-700 modular synthesizer and the 1979 VP-330 Vocoder.
The TR-808 drum machine, Jupiter-8 analog polysynth, and Juno-106 were all released in the 1980s. Roland created guitar synths, rhythm composers, and electronic drum kits, while the Boss pedal line grew and the decade closed with samplers, Linear Arithmetic Synthesis, and a Computer Music System.
Roland made a name for itself in the digital 1990s with the massive JD-800 synthesizer and the Sound Canvas and JV-1080 Super JV sound modules. Roland designed the groovebox and introduced the VS-880 as the first inexpensive digital multitrack recorder when organs, pianos, and guitar modeling systems were still evolving. Not to mention the JP-8000 and UA-100 USB audio interfaces, which can convert your PC into a studio.
With the debut of the Fantom workstation in the 2000s, things looked to take a different turn. However, there were many brilliant concepts, such as the RC-20 Loop Station, VariPhase and COSM technologies, and the massive MPC-style MV-8000 production studio. The SP-404 Phrase Sampler, as well as several video products, digital mixers, and the AX-Synth Keytar, were introduced.
More percussion and drum pad possibilities, stage organs, pianos, and the RC-505 Tabletop Loop Station were introduced in 2010. The Jupiter-80 pleased the synthesizer world until it was decided that the simplicity and power of analog modeling might exceed the demand for analog authenticity.
There’s a whole chronology on Roland’s website that walks you through the important releases of each decade. It’s chock-full of information, photographs, music, and performers showcasing Roland’s dizzying assortment of goods to the world of electronic music. Or perhaps you’d like to have a look at the Roland Museum? Here you have it:
Roland will send out tales from the previous 50 years throughout the year, including interviews with Roland engineers and the people behind the devices. There will also be some surprises and commemorative goods this year, including something spectacular to be presented on April 18th, the actual anniversary day.
Visit their website and take a detailed look of Roland milestones and creations: https://www.roland.com/global/roland-50th-anniversary/2020s/
Links of interest