The Roland TR-808 gets its own star-studded doco
“It is the gold standard,” says The Roots powerhouse Questlove at the start of this tantalising teaser for Planet Rock and Other Tales of the 808, an upcoming documentary about one of dance music’s most prized tools. Beginning with the seminal sound of Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, the film is set to celebrate all the goodness you can get out of a Roland TR-808.
One of the project’s producers is legendary studio kingpin Arthur Baker, whose credits include work with New Order, Al Green and Rocker’s Revenge. However, it was his role in creating Planet Rock back in the early ‘80s with his offsider John Robie, Bambaataa and the Kraftwerk team of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider that makes him an authority on this topic.
DJ History once asked Baker if he knew Planet Rock was going to be iconic. “I knew before we even mixed it,” he replied. “I knew before there was even a rap on it. I went home the night we cut the track and brought the tape home and I said to my wife at the time, ‘We’ve just made musical history’. Oh, I knew.”
Baker has assembled a distinguished cast of talking heads to help tell his tale. As well as Questlove, the film lines up Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin, Felix Da Housecat, Paul Oakenfold, Soul Clap, Diplo, A-Trak, Soulwax, Skrillex and other dance luminaries. Fittingly, Baker’s old buddies New Order will also feature. We’re loving the rhythmic teaser video below, but unfortunately the movie isn’t coming until 2013. You can find out more at 808tales.com.