Roli Seaboard Rise: Mos Eisley cantina band instrument now available for the masses

Rubber surfaced tech piano allows unprecedented control over notes, highest ever level of blackness

If you're a keyboardist you're probably frustrated by two things: a lack of expressive control over your instrument, apart from mod wheels and piano pedals and all the other ways you can tweak notes live. And the fact you have to stand at the back. We can't help you with that, but the Roli Seaboard Rise is a comprehensively cool solution to problem #1.

Looking like something out of the Mos Eisley cantina, if it were having a "kinky S&M night", this black rubber-coated future-piano is a kind of micro-tonal MIDI controller for playing your favourite synths, samplers and sound modules.

Using patented SEA Interface technology, the entire keyboard is one, big, pressure-sensitive surface that 'responds to even the subtlest gestures'.

So you hit keys as normal to make them play notes, but as the entire surface is a controller, you can then wobble your finger side to side or up and down to change the tone, pitch or quality of the sound. This allows for everything from vibrato effects - going "Weee-oo-ee-ooo-e-eeeee" - to full on synth modulation, letting you make noises such as "Wooom-spooiiiiiiinnnooiiioooiinnnng-merrrrrr".

We hope we're not using overly technical language for you, here. Look, it's not an easy thing to explain: just watch the video.

At £599, the Rise is the comparatively affordable and more portable successor to the £1,599 Seaboard Grand, which has won design awards and plaudits from musicians as diverse as Jamie XX, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, trance maestro BT, Bollywood soundtrack legend AR Rahman and Martyn Ware, the fat one out of Heaven 17.

Possibly our favourite aspect of the Rise, however, is that the black, seamless surface is hard to make your eyes focus on, a bit like a Gerhard Richter painting of a piano. More info here.