I am awaiting delivery of a shiny new ROLI Seaboard Rise 49 to play with. This revolutionary keyboard looks as it could make a real difference to keyboard players. For years keyboard players have been the poor relations in the world of musical expression. The piano, for all its greatness, is a very limited instrument. Sure it has loud and soft and lots of polyphony but in terms of expression it is extremely limited. It has no modulation routing of any sorts, no pitch bend and no aftertouch. It kinda makes you wonder why it was such a bit hit really….

Synths and samplers are good for tonality (with many sounds and routing options) bit a bit short on real time expression. Yes mod wheel and pitch bend can give you some sort of expression (and usually have to be preset to some degree) but they are still very limited in and organic sense ie real time interaction.

This is were the ROLI comes in. With its expressive surface for human interaction in real time for a variety of ‘touches’ (glide and slide being the new big hitters it surely has the making of an expressive instrument for keyboard players, and allow us some real time organic interaction with the instrument. At last. (Cue all the jokes about playing with your organ ….yawn).

Jordan Rudess and Marco Parisi are the big champions of the ROLI at the moment: but they both have a vested interest in being (I believe) ‘ROLI artists’ .

I think there is more to come  from this innovative company and technology. We’ll soon see if I am able to do anything worthwhile with it.