ROLI teases a controller keyboard that ‘teaches you to play your favourite songs and lets you compose and produce in a new way’

Other than the launches of a few bundles - the Beatmaker and Songmaker Kits - Blocks developer ROLI has been rather quiet of late, with new hardware products conspicuous by their absence (though it did discontinue one, the Seaboard Grand controller, at the start of this year). However, it’s set to spring into action once again with a new keyboard that’s designed to make it easy for beginners to start playing.

We’re very much in teaser territory at the moment, so details are thin on the ground. However, ROLI says that the new hardware will enable “everyone to play the songs they know, straight away,” and that it isn’t just for beginners. “Soon you’ll be able to compose, perform and produce in a whole new way,” we’re told.

The teaser video mentions colour, too, so we’re guessing that lights are part of the equation. Whether the keyboard will retain ROLI’s ‘squidgy’ keybed remains to be seen.

All will be revealed on 18 June, when ROLI will kick off its first ever Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to crowdfund the product.

The decision to go down this road may raise a few eyebrows given that ROLI has previously been keen to trumpet the level of investment that it’s received. This time last year it announced that it had raised more than $50 million, including a substantial sum from the Sony Innovation fund.

In 2017, the company announced that it had hired Pharrell Williams as Chief Creative Officer, noting that the star would help it to create “revolutionary new musical instruments that are iconic, digitally connected, and accessible to all.”

Time will tell if the new product is just such an instrument. We’ll see you back here on 18 June for all the details.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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