Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Roland 303 - 101

If you're as bookishly fanatical about electronic music as I am, you might enjoy this presentation on the history of the Roland 303, the machine responsible for acid house music. Although it's not spelled out, there is an interesting subtext to this film. It is, I think, that when users are free to experiment without restriction, even, and especially, by subverting a tool's original purpose, the unintended and unexpected (by the maker) results can sometimes far surpass the original and intended function. By inference, freedom from restrictions in the use of technology is good and often inspires further innovation, a prime and obvious example being open-source software.

The filmmaker, Nate Harrison, makes a similar point regarding copyright restrictions in his film about the "Amen break," which has far outlived it's original context in a 1960's soul song to become a ubiqitous sample in hip hop and electronic music. Once again, hats off to Boing Boing for pointing me in the direction of the latter film, which led to the former.

*Photo taken from


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