BLOCKS Puts Musical Expression In the Palm of Your Hand

November 1, 2016

6:50 pm

In a world of portability, having your music with you goes a long way. And now, it’s easier than ever to take your DJ skills on-the-road. Roli, the musical hardware and software instrument company, has released BLOCKS, a customizable modular music kit that allows users of any age to shape music through presses, glides, and other natural gestures.

Roli is known for their Seaboard, a reimagining of the keyboard considered an important new tool of music that is loved and used by musicians ranging from Stevie Wonder to Meghan Trainor.

Three BLOCKS will be available on the market today. Lightpad Block features all the expressive power from the Seaboard and put it in the palm of your hand. Through modulations, play slides, and taps, users can switch up their DJ modes and capabilities and make music on-the-go. The Loop Block includes the essentials of production control and allows the user to set their finger tempo, record loops, and quantize your loops so they run in time with the beat. The Live Block is for your live jam and allows the user to switch scales and octaves, play chords and arpeggios, and sustain notes in real-time.

“We’re thrilled to be known as cutting edge in musical expression,” said Ronald Lamb, the CEO and founder of Roli, during his keynote address via Facebook Live.


To expand your musical expression, multiple BLOCKS combinations can be put together through the BLOCKS DNA magnetic lego-like system that syncs automatically and users can instantly begin to shape new sounds. These musical devices were made to be powerful, affordable and encourage all ages to begin to make music. The Lighted Block is $179 and the Live and Loop Block are $79 each.

“We want to extend the product even further and put expressive music in everyone’s hand,” Lamb said.

The BLOCKS are powered by NOISE, a free music making app by Roli, that doubles as the software synthesizer and sound engine for the BLOCKS systems. Available on iOS, this illuminated playable surface allows users to record and layer their music as well as play with sound packs from leading artists like Steve Aoki, Grimes, and RZA, with many more on the way.

“Roli’s mission is to create joy by giving everyone a musical voice,” Lamb said.


Noise.FM is their modular music network where users will be able to collaborate and remix their content – currently in free beta. Products are available exclusively at,, and Apple Stores around in the world in the coming weeks.

“Just make music,” Lamb said.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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