Roland’s TB-303 is inextricably entangled in the history of electronic music today. Not since the Mini Moog has an electronic instrument played such a fundamental role in the discourse of music. Alongside the rest of Roland’s x0x series the TB-303 took music to the man on the street like never before in a flurry of creativity that lead to Acid House with the TB-303’s sound becoming the common denominator in the Acid House genre.
Since its creation it has moved into other genres and has become so ubiquitous in the makeup of modern electronic music that there are fewer new releases today that don’t feature the machine than those that do. It continues to inspire a new generation of musical novice through the many hardware- and software clones that came in its wake, while the original purpose of the machine is continually re-imagined by musical pioneers across genres.
None know the legacy of the TB-303 better than our residents and at any given time, we are certain that there is at least one track featuring the machine in their record bag and in their sets. We asked some of our residents if we could take a peek into their record bag through a few of their latest 303 obsessions to prepare for the pioneers of Acid House, Phuture before they land tomorrow. So in no particular order…
Øyvind Morken: Roman IV – Altes Testement
Øyvind digs up this deep and sensual example from the 90’s. The 303 has been softened somewhat in this exquisitely subtle release from yet another one of Roman Flügel’s aliases. Øyvind sends it our way under the pretence of a context: “I kind of don`t have any kind of favourite music. I would have a new favourite every day if I thought about music in that way. But, since I am going through some old cd folders I used while djing in the early and mid naughties, I found this and some good memories came back.”
DELLA: Bobby Konders – Nervous Acid
DELLA is no stranger to the lure of the 303, both in her sets and in the studio. This track by Bobby Konders for the Nu Groove label from 1990 is a perfect example of how quickly Acid ingrained itself in the musical lexicon. The “Acid” in titles like Nervous Acid, much like Acid Tracks, almost immediately relayed the sound of a record before you even picked it up, and there had always been only one machine behind that sound, the TB-303, and over the course of thirty years that’s still the case.
Jokke: Helena Hauff – Rupture
When asking VOID resident and our resident Techno DJJokke, we were given more than a few choices; the 303 always a prominent feature in his selections. This track by Helena Hauff caught our attention immediately however as an example of the grittier side of the 303’s personality. Here the machine truly bears its teeth as it gnaws through the resonance of the filter, aligning itself closer to Techno than House in Ms. Hauff’s signature “punk” aesthetic. Special mention needs to go to Andreas Gehm on the flipside here, because although Phuture might have created Acid, Andreas Gehm was responcible for keeping it alive as a steadfast facilitator and promotor of the genre and his untimely passing last year certainly was a blow to the genre.
Oskar Pask: Dream 2 science – Breathe Deep
Our Frædag resident plays something from the front of his record bag. A low-slung 303 lays the foundation for an exotic House track swathed in layers of feathery pads and contrapuntal electronic rhythms puncturing the atmosphere. At the centre of it that unmistakeable 303 bass-line galumphs along the beat of the track, often splitting in two, as a more resonant sound moves into the lead line intermittently, without ever dominating the character of the track. Dream 2 Science take the 303 in more subtle regions with this melodic, slow-burning House track.
Celius: Shinra – Endgame
Oskar Pask’s partner in crime and fellow R.L.O.C resident also had more than one track to choose from, but this Electro cut from Shinra showcases the versatility of the TB-303 and the Acid genre. What might have started in the genealogy of House, had no intention of being exclusive to its ancestry and Electro, with its unyielding futuristic design welcomed the machine into its arsenal where it soon became a common trope. Endgame, which features on a compilation solely dedicated to the 303 (only 303 copies were ever sold) is a more recent example of the 303 being used in an Electro form, as the perfect component to the omnipresent 808 in the genre.
Ivaylo: DJ Adnan – Stop War (Jay Tripwire Remix)
Jæger Mix resident Ivaylo naturally turns to the deeper spectrum of club music with this remix by Jay Tripware. The remix is a world apart from the DJ Adnan original, with the 303 being the major difference between them. It’s unique sonic identity adds a whole new dimension to the Tech-House track, giving it an edge it lacked before. The off-beat accents (designed into the machine) also give the track a funkier groove in Jay Tripwire’s hands who certainly displays an adept, intricate knowledge of the machine on this remix.
Karima F: Tin Man – Tip the Acid
It seems apt to sign-off with this pick from Karima F, who chose the more unlikely track from Tin Man’s Keys of Life Acid as her 303 track du jour. Tin Man refrains from the usual bold sonic framework in which the 303 usually appears in and strips it down to bare essentials, where the machine steps into the role of lead melodic part, with little more than an hi-hat and an attenuated mono synth padding out the space behind it.