Making Music on the Beach With Roli and my iPad

I am on Spring Break and our first order of business was to stop at SweetWater Sound to pick up a Songmaker Kit by Roli. All week I’ve been messing around with the SeaBoard Blocks in my free time between running around to the beach and sight seeing. The reason I was so very intrigued with what Roli is doing is that the blocks support MPE. Don’t know what that is? Here is Roger Linn who created the Linnstrument, along with a few other important musical achievements, explaining…

MPE stands for “Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression” and is a new MIDI standard created by us, ROLI, Apple, Moog, Haken Audio, Bitwig and others for communicating over MIDI between MPE controllers (like LinnStrument, Roli Seaboard, Continuum, SoundPlane or Eigenharp) and MPE sound generators (like these).

Plus the Songmaker Kit is portable and Roli finally packaged it with the full version of their software Equator. Actually, the software that comes with the Songmaker Kit is pretty impressive. You get the full version of Equator for your laptop/computer along with other software you see in the screen shot below. You also get almost every sound pack that is available for the iOS Noise app when you buy the Songmaker Kit too!

Their are a few iPad apps that supports MPE- Moog just released their new Model D app which supports MPE along with Animoog and Model 15 which has been out for awhile. GarageBand also supports MPE and also released an app update this week to allow for facial control of parameters using the newest cameras built into our lovely devices like the newest iPads and iPhones. GeoShred also supports MPE because their developers, one of which is Jordan Rudess is an immense supporter of new ways to control and create music. Of course ROLI’s own app, Noise, allows for MPE.

So my first week impressions are that MPE is going to take awhile to get figured out and make full use of. GarageBand and Model D for instance, although supporting MPE do not develop each sound to make the best use of the messages coming from the Songmaker Kit Blocks. On the other hand, Roli has done an awesome job realizing that in order for their product to succeed and MPE to take hold, they must develop software that is designed to take full advantage of the MPE messages coming from the Blocks.

Anyways…. what is Roli’s main thrust? Making music anyplace you are with new tools and capabilities. So what else can I do but make some music and then share it.

This song was all GarageBand using the SeaBoard Block then I ran it through the Audio Mastering App which then allowed me to upload to SoundCloud. Then I had to open Safari, not the SoundCloud app, to edit the info and the cover art. (Come on SoundCloud…. why would you take away such basic capabilities from your app!????)

Anyways… if you are so inclined for some chill musical meanderings to listen to then check it out below… Also – if you have had success with the SeaBoard Blocks and MPE let me know where your music is and what you have found that works really well in the comments. I’d love to connect.

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