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Don Lewis, one of electronic music's most brilliant minds, has passed away at the age of 81.

Lewis invented the "Live Electronic Orchestra" (LEO), a '70s era invention that predates the creation of MIDI and was forward-thinking for its time. He was also instrumental in creating synth "voices" for some of the most impactful analog instruments of an artistic generation, and has consulted for the world's top synth brands.

Lewis was a key developer on Roland's seminal TR-808 drum machine, an invention that changed the trajectory of contemporary music.

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Lewis actually began his career from an unlikely place, as a Nuclear Weapons Specialist in the Air Force. After his time serving, he immersed himself in the music industry and achieved success as an electronic engineer. His influential work led him to collaborate with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and many more.

A forthcoming documentary, Don Lewis and the Live Electric Orchestra, which covers the life and times of the electronic music pioneer, is set to debut in February 2023, per Pitchfork.


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