BLOCKS is a great tool for playing melodies, making beats, and even freestyle rapping. RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan showed the crowd at CES how to do all three at once, and that was one of the highlights from our excellent CES 2017. Check out of his performance of hip-hop classic C.R.E.A.M. during a live jam with PARISI:

CES is all about the future of technology, and 170,000 people came to preview this future! Most of the visitors to the ROLI booth touched the future of music-making through BLOCKS, The demonstration areas were packed for three days with people of all backgrounds — most of them non-musicians — exploring the Lightpad Block and NOISE.

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Judges and members of the media though it was special too. BLOCKS won the IoT Breakthrough Award for “Innovation Consumer Product of the Year.” It was on lists of the best products at CES including from USA Today, WIRED, and Le Monde. And it was a finalist at Last Gadget Standing, the annual competition for the most crowd-pleasing gadget of the new year. Emcee and tech expert David Pogue picked out some tunes on the Lightpad Block in front of the 500-person crowd, appearing to master it within seconds.

The ROLI booth hosted live performance and talks as onlookers checked out BLOCKS. In this video of a wide-ranging interview with RZA, the hip-hop artist describes the need for music to evolve — just like technology.

We also welcomed super-producer Noah “40” Shebib for a live jam with PARISI, and afterwards he discussed the tools he uses to shape music — including the Seaboard RISE and BLOCKS.

The highlight for us was seeing everyone’s reactions after a few minutes of playing BLOCKS for the first time. In many cases it was the first time that they had tried to play a musical instrument since grade school. And, in the words of a few people, it was “really cool.” We’ll be heading back to Las Vegas for CES 2018 — with even more cool things to show!

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