90s techno is back, 90s trance is back, 90s Roland is … back. With Roland releasing MC series grooveboxes again, let’s flash back to the oddly entertaining demo videos they produced for the 90s models.
Whatever Roland did to differentiate the MC hardware models, they sure did differentiate the videos – using an oddball selection of a fairly solid if nerdy sound designer for the MC-303, a painful pushy artist sales pitch on the MC-505, and a totally awkward host for the SP-808. (I’ll through in the SP while we’re at it; it was still a related product.)
Roland being Roland, there are some amusing similarities between this week’s MC-101 and MC-707 and its late 90s counterparts, down to certain elements of the synth architecture.
But that said, this is also a reminder that nothing has been nearly as wacky as the MC-505, apart from perhaps the MC-808 with its motorized faders. The 505 is a grab box of features, smashed together with a front panel that looks like an overstuffed 80s boombox.
So the demo video here is somehow appropriate – the 505 was as over-the-top as the dance music scene around it when it launched, and contains a veritable museum of all the wildest sounds of the era with almost jukebox-like access to everything.
And in perhaps the most cringe-worthy moment in all of music product video demos, ever (which is saying a lot), there is the infamous appearance of the “rasta man” out of nowhere in the middle of the product video.
I definitely need to do some bluescreen work. The visuals in the 303 video may be the best part.