Roli wrapped up a rough 2021 by filing for administration. The move saw the musical hardware startup effectively spinning off a new brand in the form of Luminary, led by founder Roland Lamb. The company is, for most intents and purposes, Roli, having snapped up its predecessor’s IP in the process.
When it returned in 2022 with the Seaboard Rise 2, the company mostly just referred to itself as Roli. The same applies with today’s Seaboard Block M reveal — though there is a reference to Lamb as the CEO of Luminary Roli about five paragraphs into the release.
It’s there that the executive notes, “The reintroduction of the Seaboard Block M marks a monumental step in making the revolutionary MPE and 5D Touch technology accessible to more music makers around the world. We believe that this tool will not only foster creativity but also redefine the landscape of music production. It’s more than an instrument; it’s a gateway to infinite musical possibilities.”
5D is the technology that’s been at the heart of Roli since the beginning. It’s a soft material that lets users bend piano keys like guitar strings, opening up a whole range of new sounds to explore in the process. Roli calls the Block M, “The most requested product ever from the ROLI creator community.”
It’s a MIDI system (the “MPE” referenced above is short for MIDI polyphonic expression) that’s smaller/more portable than other Seaboards. It’s also more approachable, running $350 to the Seaboard Rise’s $1,400. The company is positioning it as a system that’s as good for beginners as vets. It’s got 10 hours of battery life and a 15 meter (49 feet, give or take) Bluetooth range.
Preorder opens today, and it will start shipping in November.