I have long been impressed with the offerings from Dave Smith Instruments, such as the Tempest pictured above. They’re easy to play and offer rich sound possibilities that one can either keep tame or push towards more extreme. Last year I was quite taken with the Prophet 12, and still coveting one of those. This year, they have introduced a tabletop version of the P12. I was fortunate enough to get a demonstration from Dave Smith himself! You can see it in the video below.
The Prophet 12 features 12-voice polyphony, anchored by digital oscillators that feed into analog high and low-pass filters. It has some aggregate controls for the oscillators with odd names like “Air” but are pretty intuitive once one tries them out.
So maybe the tabletop edition would be a practical alternative to the keyboard?