After decades of stagnation, keyboard players looking for new, expressive tools to make music are enjoying a new era. In the past few years, the ROLI Seaboard series and Roger Linn’s Linnstrument (just to mention two well-known products) have brought a breath of fresh air. Now it’s time for Expressive E and Haken Audio, two boutique innovative companies (Touché and Continuum, anyone?) to announce the results of more than seven years of work – Osmose, a new “Augmented Keyboard Synthesizer”.
According to the companies, Osmose elevates a player’s experience by introducing a new landscape of physical gestures for musicians to interact with sounds and produce music like they never have before. It does this while not only respecting, but also enhancing the player’s existing keyboard skills. Every note can be articulated independently with unique expressive possibilities, such as those seen in this Osmose gestures video:
I’ll be honest, on the market there are many interesting and even innovative controllers. As a musician though, I feel more inspired by all-in-one instruments. Osmose is an actual synth with a powerful engine, not just a unique controller (with support for MPE and MPE+ sounds, polyphonic aftertouch, a Multichannel MIDI mode, and global pitch bend controllable from every key). This is actually the reason why Expressive E has partnered with Haken Audio – to integrate its EaganMatrix sound engine into Osmose.
Built for instruments with continuously expressive gestures such as the Continuum Fingerboard, the EaganMatrix is the most powerful expressive synthesizer on the market. Its modular sound engine combines many types of digital synthesis, including physical modeling, additive, subtractive, FM, virtual analog, granular and spectral synthesis.
Here’s Osmose in the hands of some lucky artists that had a chance of testing the prototype (yep, Jordan Rudess is one of them, obv!).