June 21, 2013

Roland Foresta

What is Roland Foresta? A new product? No. It's an installation of sorts that Roland is setting up in various stores across America. It's a "quiet and comfortable space in which you can select the instrument that perfectly suits your needs and lifestyle". This basically means a corner of the store that Roland has laid down a square of carpet, set up their pianos and added a fake tree. Am I hating on it? No! I love it! It's ridiculous! It makes no sense whatsoever. But I do think it's a feeble attempt to cover up the fact that their current product line is a snooze fest. 

I know that Ikutaro Kakehashi is obsessed with forward progression and all that, but give me a break! You can't reinvent guitar strings, they are what they are. The voltage controlled oscillator is the guitar strings of synthesizers. As soon as Kakehashi is no longer with us, I imagine Roland will take the plunge back into some serious analog gear. It's unfortunate that he can't embrace it though and be a part of it's wonderful return before he's gone -the way Bob Moog was. 

It's so strange, looking at the Roland Gaia SH-01, Kakehashi is fine with having an analog "style" layout (traditional oscilator, filter, amplifier architecture) but not with having the true analog circuitry to back it up. Who cares about 64 note polyphony? No one. No one will ever need to play that many notes at once. Roland, you don't even have to fully commit, take a hint from Korg and just dip a toe in. Make some little toys, see how you like it.

And that's the end of my rant for today. If you'd like to know more about Roland's amazing new marketing concept: 


  1. Agreed about the analog guts! So sad that these "analog modeling" keyboards have a bunch of knobs & sliders, but also a bunch of confusing menus and, as you said, tons of useless polyphony. Some polyphony wouldn't be bad... I'm thinking about you, lovely Polymoog :)

    I remember visiting music stores with my friend back in the late 90s / early 00s and seeing those "analog modeling" digital keyboards. I can't even call them synths. They looked cool but they seemed to lack something. But I'm glad that now there are lots of companies making new analog synths.

  2. When i went to the Roland conference, a question was asked if Roland would ever re-release or develop any analogue equipment, for which they made the reply that as long as Kakehashi is alive and a part of Roland, that wouldn't happen. But the way it was said hinted to everyone in the audience that they have something up their sleeves for the future..


  3. Rogue: It's funny how ahead of the curve Roland was with all those analog modeling synths in the 90's. Some interesting stuff... but ultimately not very legit.

    Samuel: I sure hope so!