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No Ad Will Ever Top this Awesome MC-505 Promo Video from the 90s

Roland doesn't make promo videos like they used to.

Every gear nerd worth their weight in overpriced, vintage equipment knows that the Roland 808 and 909 drum machines are some of the rarest and most expensive pieces of equipment known to man, woman, and the sentient iMac in the movie Her. Roland recently stole the show at NAMM (which, incidentally, is not a reference to the Vietnam War or stuffing large amounts of food into your mouth and Instagramming it, but one of the most important conferences in the music production industry) by announcing a new take on their classic gear, which they're now calling AIRA.


According to the promotional video that Roland released, AIRA is "the next step" in the development of the 808, but it's not clear how those changes will manifest, or even what form the updated drum machine will take. It could be software version of the unit, or a revamped piece of hardware. If you're dying to read 107 of educated guesses about whether it's a new micro analogue machine or self timed toaster oven, just head over to Gearslutz—we're more interested in the clip itself.

Roland's fresh promo video blends vagueness and nostalgia into a cocktail of gear porn confusion, without ever explaining what the product it's advertising might be. Nevertheless, it has racked up over 200,000 views on Youtube since it was posted on January 14, even though it's about a million times less hilarious and visually stimulating than the promotional clip they released in the 1990s for the MC 505 and 303 drum machines. The retro Roland ad stars three gentlemen who explain the machine's features and demonstrate its presets, which include "fat hip-hop beats," "the greeeeziest of funk," and, for those with a "need for speed," some drum n' bass rhythms. To all you up-and-coming producers, take note: this thing is a treasure trove of ridiculous vocal drops. Just in case you're too lazy to marvel at mid-90's marketing at it's peak, we've isolated a few of our favorite moments.

[THUMP would be happy to amend this article by including substantiative information regarding AIRA. Roland, please feel free to send us a demo unit. -ed.]