A very short documentary that sums up in three minutes the importance of the Roland TR-808 drum machine for electronic, hip hop and pop music in the last thirty years. Originally designed in 1980 as a tool for studio musicians to create demos, due to its relative cheapness it became used in the then-underground electronic and hip hop scenes to compose beats.
The by now vintage, distinctive, artificial sound of the 808 not only gave birth to the techno scene (in addition to tools like the TB-303 bass synthesizer), but also influenced the evolution of all kinds of relevant styles in the last decades. By now, their sounds are available digitally, but original machines are highly sought after. If you listen, you hear those kicks and hi-hats everywhere.
Also check out this video, already blogged about earlier, demonstrating the possibilities of the 808.