- The veteran producer wrote house music patterns for Roland's drum machines in the late 1980s, and ran the label Rockin' House.
Rodney Baker, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, educator and visual artist who was an influential figure in the development of Chicago house, died after a heart attack last week, 5 Mag reported today.
The artist, who produced under the name Rodney Bakerr, was best known for writing house music patterns for Roland's drum machines in the '80s. Baker's compositions were published in the Roland Drum Machine Dictionary, a book first printed in 1985, and went on to influence global electronic music. "For many musicians and producers, his was the first instruction on how to program and play intricate Chicago house beats," according to Baker's official website.
As a performer, Baker was the first to add live guitar and other instruments to house and acid house, his website states. Since the early '80s, he's put out several acid house records that remain classics today. His track "Love Is Happiness (Acid Rain)," made under his Jacquariuas alias, was once described by Mr. Scruff as "one of the best Chicago acid tracks ever."
As frontman for the ensemble Strange Circuits, Baker also recorded a single for Wax Trax! in 1980 before it was officially a label, according to his website. "Strange Circuits was the first electronic group, after Brian Eno's solo (or non-group) effort, to record for the Wax Trax! label before Ministry and Front 242," his website said.
In 1986, Baker founded Rockin' House Records, an independent label and early supporter of the Chicago house sound. Rockin' House has released cult favourites such as Fred Brown's 1987 single "House Whop" and E-Smoove's 1994 The Eric Miller EP.
Fans on social media have been paying tribute to Baker's impact on electronic music.
For more on Baker's life, visit his website.