NAMM 2014: Roland AIRA – We’ve Seen ‘IT’!

Forget NAMM 2014, the show really has been stolen. Andy Jones is invited to get hands on with the show stealing Roland saviour…

‘The NAMM show has been stolen’ is what I wrote last week when we got the first glimpses of Roland’s AIRA, a hazy couple of ‘leaked’ pictures of two products, one of which seems to be the next generation of the Roland TR-808. We added to the hype by publishing them , for sure , but the on-line scramble that followed was unprecedented. You see people have been waiting years for Roland to rerelease its classic machines and the TR-808 was just one of the company’s back catalogue that defined dance music. But for many years the company refused. The reasons were many and varied – you can read more about them in the current issue of MusicTech – but now Roland is about to unleash AIRA and has apparently been working on it in secret for years.


And last night, at the end of day 2 at NAMM 2014 in the USA, I became one of the first journalists to see the results. But don’t get too excited as I really can’t reveal what I saw unless it’s from a prison cell. What I can say is that the images you have seen are real, and these things look stunning, Tron like in their inception (I have a thing about Tron mind, so you may not agree). I can also say that what I heard blew me away. One other fact? The original team of Roland engineers was involved.

I’ve been coming to the NAMM show for 20 years now and this has never happened before – products deliberately not on show that end up stealing the show. And it’s not like it’s been a weak show; that Moog Sub 37? Amazing. Elektron Analog Drum Machine? Yes please. I even got excited by an interface from UA yesterday.

But what I saw in a hotel room last night – OK deliberately in some kind of cloak and dagger scenario to max out the impact – genuinely blew me away. I can’t wait to show you (I wasn’t allowed to shoot video but will bring you images in the next issue of MusicTech) and you can be sure that this website will be the first to reveal all so stick with us, it will be worth the wait.

The full details of Roland’s AIRA will be in the next issue of MusicTech on sale 20th Feb but check and our Facebook page for updates until then.