Written by 12:00 pm Music

SATURDAY MATINÉE: Bassline Baseline (2005)


A great documentary on the shortlived TB-303 that spawned some influential basslines after its “death”.

If you’re a musician, producer or just a music tech head, you’ll almost certainly possess a piece of Roland equipment. The most well-known machine, of course, is the TR-808, taking up about 95% of trap and mainstream hip hop music’s non-acoustic drum sections (I just made that up). But it’s bassline counterpart wasn’t as long lasting, at least not past the late 90s. The Roland TB-303 Bass Line was a bass synthesizer with built-in sequencer built from 1982 to 1984. It had a hand in shaping electronic music in the mid to late 80s and into the 90s with different styles and sound tweaks.

Since the introduction of music software, MIDI/USB controllers and other such equipment, the need for a TB-303 has lessened, now just coveted by gear collectors and those music tech heads. The documentary above talks about the enigmatic bass synth/sequencer and what it did for music for the couple of decades it was relevant, from its minimal instruction manual to its two-year manufacturing life and revival attempt in the form of a MC-303. Despite the fact that I could probably emulate the sounds on my own computer, I wouldn’t say no to one if it was given to me.

Stream it below.