Attack Magazine has posted a photo that suggests the company will announce a new drum machine called the AIRA TR-08.
Roland, maker of the legendary TR-808, appears to be getting back in the drum machine game.
Yesterday, the Japanese music equipment manufacturer posted a video to their YouTube channel titled "AIRA -- The evolution of the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Machine" (see below). It features Atsushi Hoshiai, known for his work on the TR-909 drum machine, discussing the 808's legacy amidst shots of the drum machine being programmed and tested. "By now, musicians want new and exciting things, so the time has come to take the next step," he says at the video's end, as the camera gets tantalizingly close to showing an unfamiliar piece of equipment, black with green detailing, similar in size and shape to the 808.
A photo published earlier today by Attack Magazine shows what appears to be the product teased in the video. The machine sits at an angle in the photo, making it difficult to make out its exact specs, but it looks to be laid out similarly to classic '80s Roland machines, with 16 voices laid out on sequencer controls and a bank of faders.
Attack speculates that the line could also feature a version of the TB-303 bass synthesizer as well. "Our suspicion," they write, "is that the TR-08 and TB-03 will turn out to be newly developed digital models rather than analogue reissues (the leaked TR-08 image, if genuine, at least shows that the unit will look significantly different to the 808). The video's assertion that 'musicians want new and exciting things so the time has come to take the next step' suggests we're looking at an evolution of the TR-808 concept rather than an exact replica."
We expect more information from Roland's camp closer to next week's NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, where companies often make big announcements about new gear. We'll be sure to keep you updated as more information comes in. You can also sign up for emails about the product on AIRA's website.