808 Tales- Arthur Baker

By Jorge Zaldivar


Arthur Baker’s influence in the music industry is unarguable. Arthur Baker’s contributions and productions will remain relevant throughout the history of music. Innovation is unstoppable and so is the kick behind Planet Rock! Arthur Baker is in town for Miami Music Madness (as we like to call it) and we were beyond stocked when he agreed to talk to us and tell us a bit more about what he has in the works.


Back in the day, industry veteran and house music pioneer, Arthur Baker, explored the possibilities behind this analog transistor technology and squeezed out some excellent pieces of music. When Roland released their Transistor Rhythm drum machines, the TR-808 became a staple sound in production.

“Yamaha studio speakers would handle the low end just fine, but when I played Planet Rock at the record shop it blew the speakers”

Amongst his projects of the era, Baker produced some of the early Tommy Boy, Streetwise and Criminal Records 12″ inches. Herbie Powers Jr. mastered and cut many of our favorite classics and notably left a smiley face on the run-out-groove of all the records he cut. Herb was tasked with taking this new TR-808 sound from the studio and making it sound as good as it can get for the dance floor.

“Herb mastered out of New York and did “Walking on Sunshine” for me. He cut the 12″s hot”


In his documentary, 808 TALES, he explores the history of electronic and how instrumental this one instrument has been for break dancers, producers, and music fans alike.


Alongside Felix da Housecat, Tommie Sunshine and DJ Pierre, Arthur Baker rocks Miami Music Week (and the planet) at “RETURN TO CHICAGO;” tonight at The Shore Club, Miami Beach. Then, Sunday, March 24th he hits up Downtown Miami for “EVERYBODY” A Gathering of the Tribe in Memory of DJ MARK KAMINS (April 13, 1955 – February 14, 2013) ‘A Celebration of his Life and Music’ at The Vagabond.


The samples of the 808 are still heralded for their flexibility and spectral deepness. And so, for you listening pleasure, here are some 808 gems:

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