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Gear Reviews, News, Technology, Videos | Nov 02, 2016   

ROLI Launches BLOCKS Modular Music Studio

ROLI BLOCKS are a versatile music making system that are suitable for beginners and professionals. Read more about the new electronic instrument here!

The inventors of the Seaboard RISE MIDI controller are back with a new product called ROLI BLOCKS. The so-called modular music making system consists of three main parts that can be joined together in multiple configurations: the Lightpad Block, the Live Control Block and the Loop Block. The technology runs on the ROLI NOISE application available as a free download at the App Store.

According to ROLI representatives the BLOCKS system is meant for everyone from hopeful amateurs to trained musicians. It is easy to use the Lightpad Block’s surface that responds to five dimensions of touch. The colorful grids show you how to find notes, make beats, or play harmonies and melodies. You will be creating music from the moment it turns on even if you don’t play an instrument.



Price: $179.95 each

The Lightpad BLOCK is the center of the configuration. It is small enough to fit in your hand and contains a wealth of sounds, such as drum beats, guitar leads and orchestral movements. The LED illuminated, silicone surface of the BLOCK adds a visual element to making music, in addition to touch and sound. Each instrument had it’s own grid pattern.

The five dimensions of touch include Strike, Glide, Slide, Press and Lift. In Learn Mode a light trail shows you the way to play musical sequences. With the Drum Kit you can make beats in the same way you would play drums. Move your fingers along the surface to produce grooves with the Groove Kit. Hide Mode shows you notes in the right scale.

It is possible to expand the exterior of the ROLI Lightpad BLOCK by joining two together, or adding a control BLOCK. You could even put four Lightpads together like Parisi did in this demo video. They attach through magnetic DNA connectors that share data with the other BLOCKS. It doesn’t say if there is a limit to how many can work together.

ROLI Live Control / Loop BLOCK


Price: $79.95 each

The Live BLOCK and Loop BLOCK make it easier to produce and perform music. The Live Control is intended for musical performances, while the Loop is meant for music production. The individual buttons activate features that can be programmed according to what effects the producer uses the most. This reduces the need to look at the iPhone or iPad screen. They connect to Lightpad’s with a click.



ROLI NOISE is a software synthesizer and sound engine for the BLOCKS system that can be downloaded for free via the App Store. The portable application works wirelessly. Using NOISE you can make music by drumming, gliding or pressing on the touchscreen. You can also choose from over 100 included sounds to produce beats and melodies, record loops and arrange them on an electronic device. is the new modular music network where producers can upload and share the compositions they made with ROLI BLOCKS.

Celebrity Endorsements


The ROLI BLOCKS system is used by professional musicians that include Grimes, RZA, Steve Aoki and WondaGurl.

RZA states, “If I ever have writer’s block in the studio, I reach for BLOCKS. It brings whole new levels of expression to my music.”

While Steve Aoik adds rather cryptically, “Touch the sound of the future.”

And according to Grimes, “ROLI BLOCKS will democratize music production. It’s so intuitive and versatile. I’m always on the go, and BLOCKS is the most powerful mobile production tool I’ve ever used.”


ROLI BLOCKS are available for purchase at, and from the Apple Store. Visit the official website to read the technical specifications.

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