Roli Seaboard Rise Prog Jam At The 2016 NAMM Show

At the 2016 NAMM Show, Roli was presenting its Seaboard Rise MIDI Controllers – some of the few controllers to support Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression (MPE).

Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess composed a prog jam for the event, written for three performers with 25-note Rise controllers & a drummer. Rudess was joined on Rise by Eren Basbug and Marco Parisi, and by the amazing Elijah Wood on drums.

MPE is a proposed standard for MIDI controllers and instruments, designed to give you expressive control over each individual note that you play. It’s currently supported by a variety of controllers, including the Rise, Roger Linn’s LinnStrument, and the Madrona SoundPlane

9 thoughts on “Roli Seaboard Rise Prog Jam At The 2016 NAMM Show

  1. I respect Mr Rudess and his perfosmance as well as the others. Doubtless, this is a great performance, but I would like to hear the same with traditional keys to understand the difference from the Roli’s Keys. In my opinion, all these great features that Roli’s Keys support aren’t revealed without comparison. And for the end I would like to hear something more electronic. This is great performance but it sounds like Rock Band. Most sounds reminiscent electric guitar. If what is wanted then it is very successful.

    1. I think the main difference with traditional key controllers is that all the mod and bend wheels action is translated as finger movement on the actual keys. I don’t think this new approach will let you do anything “new”, aside from the one-note-bend which is pretty awesome, but will let you do all those things in a more natural way…. after all, it’s all just MIDI CC shenanigans G_G

  2. I’m pretty sure if Ruddess was given access to a controller with 100 degrees of expression (x,y,z….)that he’d have in master in a matter of minutes. Not human.

  3. Definitely got me thinking here! I like the violin-style playing for sure. Roli has been waiting such a long time for a real full decent promo by an artist ha… still not sure if this even counts with the 3 sounds blended together so much as to be impossible to observe the actual nuances being made by any given sound. Rudess was awful for making demos of PolyAT products without showing any of the functionality AT ALL in the past…

  4. Roli has to do two things:

    Demonstrate that the Rise can be used for ‘normal’ keyboard tasks; and

    Demonstrate that the Rise can do things that are difficult or impossible with ‘normal’ keyboards.

    It’s pretty clear that Rudess had this in mind when composing this piece, and if you watch closely, the piece does a great job of demoing both things.

    In the ‘neoclassical’ middle section, Rudess plays some nicely articulated intricate arpeggios, which demonstrate that you can do fast ‘keyboardy’ stuff on the Rise.

    The heavy groove at the beginning demonstrates the pitch flexibility of the Rise very nicely.

    On a normal MIDI keyboard, you’re limited to a fixed pitch bend range, which applies to all notes, or applying glide, which is also usually applied equally to all glides. That ends up sounding wooden next to what a violinist or guitarist can do.

    If you watch what these guys do, they’re taking individual notes and gliding them different distances and applying natural vibrato, too. That’s very hard on a normal controller and impossible to do polyphonically.

    PS: Complaining about how a MIDI controller sounds? Priceless.

  5. It must be tried. I’m not a skilled keyboard player, but the familiarity of the layout made it easy to approach and use the MPE features. Will I buy one for $800? Probably not, but it is now high on my wish list.

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