Time for something completely different. Just before BPM 2015, innovative keyboard company ROLI were teasing something new that the DJWORX might be interested enough for me to head 250 miles south to have a look at. Being just too close to BPM, I declined, but now having seen the new Seaboard RISE in action, my mind is pondering the possibilities of this clever tactile tech. Thankfully Heen-Wah Way and Gerald Peter were on hand for three days to give us the best possible demo. This is the best of those three days.
As a relative non-musician, even I can see how revolutionary these ROLI devices are. But it’s not so much what they can do now, but where they might end up. There have been different attempts at expressive controllers before, and many use accelerometers requiring some sort of movement. But this squidgy keyed box is a joy to touch and play with. Touch devices haven’t really found much favour, but the added dimensions and the actual requirement to press something opens up a world of potential.
I guess it’s just a matter of time before smaller individual units will appear. But I’m really interested in how this multi-dimensional technology can be applied to a grid controller, and perhaps even a DJ controller. And I’m sure ROLI have already thought of it too.