Keyboard innovator ROLI has announced a new lower cost wireless MIDI controller, the Seabord Block, aimed at bringing keyboard controllers into the mainstream.
Price at RRP £279.95, the Seaboard Block is the newest model of the Seaboard, a touch-responsive keyboard interface. ROLI’s first two models, Seaboard GRAND and Seaboard RISE, have won numerous awards and are played by artists including Stevie Wonder, Meghan Trainor, Steve Aoki, and Hans Zimmer but previous prices have been from £699.95 to £8,499.95, which shows the extent to which the Seaboard Block is aiming for a new market.
Fitting easily in a backpack and connecting to ROLI’s free mobile app NOISE, Seaboard Block is the newest Block in ROLI’s modular BLOCKS system. Individual Blocks, each of which provide unique functions, can be connected together to build an expandable, customisable instrument.
Roland Lamb, founder and CEO of ROLI and inventor of the Seaboard and the BLOCKS family, said: ‘Music making will only begin to thrive in the digital age when electronic instruments are truly intuitive and can be played as expressively as any acoustic instrument. Seaboard Block is the culmination and convergence of our work at ROLI to create new instruments that are deeply emotive and easy to play. It is one of the most simultaneously accessible and expressive digital instruments ever made, and I can’t wait to hear what people create with it.’
Seaboard Block comes with a suite of music software. Equator Player is a new sound player for BLOCKS designed for anyone making music with a desktop computer. NOISE, the free app that pairs wirelessly with BLOCKS, is a mobile sound engine for making music on the go. NOISE makes Seaboard Block a portable musical sketchpad that can be taken anywhere.
NOISE and Equator Player both include over 100 expressive sounds from synths to strings. Alongside the launch of Seaboard Block, ROLI also releases six new soundpacks ranging from Vintage Electronic to Cinematica. Free with every Seaboard Block, the soundpacks put even more sounds at the fingertips of Seaboard Block creators. BLOCKS Dashboard extends the workflow possibilities even further by allowing creators to customise their setup with popular digital audio workstations and plugins like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and Omnisphere.
Touch Block also launches today. The same size and shape as Live Block and Loop Block, it provides a set of controls for adjusting the expressive behaviour of the surfaces of Seaboard Block and Lightpad Block. By clicking one of its controls, for example, music-makers can adjust how much their side-to-side finger movements bend pitch on the surface of Seaboard Block. Seaboard Block and Touch Block join Lightpad Block, Live Block, and Loop Block, expanding the BLOCKS family. In its first six months BLOCKS has won awards including Best Innovative Product (Musikmesse International Press Awards 2017) and Best in Show (NAMM U Awards 2017).