With all the mobile apps out there, the person who can help build something a bit different is you. The idea is this: fund a new handheld instrument now, and you’re rewarded with music, knowledge, and involvement. You get a studio album produced by Mouse on Mars, and watch as the app is finished.

There’s one more twist, too: in a world of fairly disposable apps, everything in this project will be fully open source and shared, from the Pd patch producing sound to project files.

WretchUp is a mobile instrument built by Mouse on Mars, capable of both extreme sound mangling and subtle pitch and delay effects. It’s inspired by analog effect hardware – Mouse on Mars have for years used analog racks and Dictaphones – but this, while retaining the sonic character, is something you can hold in your hand. It’s hard to describe, but the essence of WretchUp as a handheld app is what isn’t there as much as what is. It doesn’t look like a copy of hardware. A beautiful interface designed with Rupert Smyth, which we’re refining, focuses on big gestures. It just gives you a set of controls you can swipe, and so instead, you focus on the sound. I’ve been really inspired spending time with Andi and Jan from Mouse on Mars as they talk about the value of listening. You don’t use this effect; you listen to it – listening is how you make things.

Create Digital Music is working with Mouse on Mars to try a new approach to app development, and I’m excited to get to announce its launch today..

Normally, you would keep your development private – your trade secrets are what you’re selling. We’re trying the opposite. WretchUp sounds as good as it does because of a beautiful Pd patch built by Florian Grote. That Pd patch runs on the iPhone through RjDj Player. But that doesn’t do everything Andi and Jan want when they work in the studio and onstage, and the player app is now defunct.

So, we’re building an app that makes this a truly powerful effect on the iPhone. (We’ll talk more about functionality during the campaign and with our backers as we build it.) And we’re giving away the Pd patch. And I’m helping explain how it works, so you can build your own Pd patch. And we’re giving away the iOS project files. And I’m helping explain how that works, so you can build your own iOS apps. And we’re helping share some of the other open projects (particularly libpd) that use shared code to make better musical instruments.

I’m known for being an advocate of open source, but make no mistake: this is a slightly crazy idea. We need your help to make it work. Here’s how it works for you. Mouse on Mars are in the studio now finishing an entirely new studio album featuring WretchUp sounds. They keep telling me it’s a real album, not just some mixes, and the way to hear it first is to support the app:

$5: Get the app, and credits.
$10: …and two exclusive Mouse on Mars downloads.
$15: …and the whole WretchDubbed album as a download.
$30: …and a nice handmade physical version of that album (limited to 80).

We didn’t want this to be a charity; we tried to actually make these as inexpensive as possible and give as much as possible for each. Being a backer also means that we’ll involve you as we go – you’re a producer, effectively, not just a donor or on a preorder list. I’ll be particularly interested to share our development process with that group and get feedback. (If you do want to go nuts, up to four people can come to Berlin and spend some private time with Mouse on Mars as an Executive Producer. But as far as I’m concerned, every $5 backer is part of our team, too.)

The more we raise, the more we can do. I really want this to run on Android, but starting with the iPhone made sense. If we can get the iPhone version funded, we can also work on an Android version. Also, since RjDj Player is now defunct, we get to build a foundation for other Pd apps running on mobile and embedded devices.

The next 21 days as we finish this campaign will be hectic, but I’m excited. As we work on this process, we’ll be providing updates. But I hope you’ll help us build this.

Or, as Jan would say through WretchUp, reooooowwrrrrwwwow.


Got questions? We’ll be happy to answer them.