Striso Board: a knobbly and musical new multidimensional MIDI controller
Over on Kickstarter the Striso Board is offering multidimensional expressive MIDI control in the form of an array of isomorphically placed squishy buttons.
The pursuit of the ultimate interface for electronic sounds continues with the Striso Board multidimensional controller. The Striso Board combines pressure and movement sensitive nodules with motion and acceleration sensors in the device itself. Each button responds to touch, to finger pressure and to forwards/backwards or left/right movement. So you can tease and manipulate sound and tone with changes in pitch, timbre and loudness. The movement, tilt, rotation and shaking of the device can offer a whole range of different effects.
The layout of the Striso Board is isomorphic which means that every musical interval, chord and scale has the same shape regardless of the key. There are a number of controllers that offer this sort of layout and it’s often used on grid-based controllers like the Push or in touch software like Bitwig to offer a way of playing and entering notes where there’s no traditional keyboard. It definitely has its advantages if you can get to grips with it. It also makes for interesting tunings. The layout follows a progression of Fifths from minor to major with flats being the black buttons on the left and sharps being the black buttons on the right. This means that the flats and sharps can be tuned individually offering meantone tunings.
You get 61 expressive nodules covering almost 4 octaves. There are additional buttons for octaves switching and glissando. It can output up to 15 note polyphony with MPE support. It’s currently just a controller but they hope to add an internal synthesizer and outputs as part of the Kickstarter funding.
It’s wonderfully compact and appears to be nicely expressive in the right hands. I also like things that tempt us out of the familiarity of the keyboard and give us a chance to experiment and explore. At €420 it places it between the Roli Seaboard Block and Seaboard Rise and so is not out of place as far as MPE controllers go.