Home / News / Music meisterwerker Roli’s latest machine is a visual marvel

Music meisterwerker Roli’s latest machine is a visual marvel

Look at the pretty lights! But what's that awful noise?

What’s this, a Simon Says for millennials?

Don’t be so glib. Blocks might look like an 80s kids’ game on steroids, but it’s a serious piece of music production equipment – or at least that’s what its creator Roli says. And apparently stars like RZA and Grimes agree, because they’re already using it to make tunes. And we’re interested, because we loved Roli’s first work, the Seaboard.

How does it work?

There are various Block modules – three at launch, but we expect more to follow – which perform different functions, and can be linked together using magnets, forming what are essentially custom instruments.

So you might take the Lightpad Block, a glowing surface that lets you create sounds through gestures like tapping or swiping, and snap it onto a Loop or Live Block, which offer physical controls for performance or producing. You can also combine loads of Lightpads for a veritable symphony of touch-sensitive electronic instruments – as seen in the video below.

But how do I actually produce? Where can I store my experimental masterpieces?

This is where Roli’s Noise app comes in. Install it on your iPhone or iPad (sadly, Android users appear to be left out in the cold at launch) and you can then use your device as an additional input, a production tool and a place to keep your creations.

OK. It does seem pretty cool…

Well, If you’re interested in investing in a Blocks setup of your own and becoming the next Steve Aoki (but hopefully, y’know, less irritating), look out for the modules at Roli’s own site or the Apple store (both online and bricks and mortar). The Lightpad costs £170, and the Loop and Live Blocks are each £70.