Mouse on Mars: WretchUp, an Instrument for iPhone

WretchUp is an instrument for lovers of sound. Mouse on Mars use it in the studio and live shows. Now, we want to let anyone play it, on the iPhone and beyond.
Peter Kirn
3 Team Members

WretchUp is a unique handheld effect and instrument for the iPhone that anyone can play. Developed by Mouse on Mars, it's easy to learn, but also sophisticated enough that it's heavily used in their live shows and new albums - on vocals, on drums, with feedback, and more. Now with your help, we want to bring it to everyone as an open source project.

A New Kind of Handheld Instrument from Mouse on Mars

What WretchUp does: WretchUp is inspired by analog hardware effects, translated into something you can hold in your hand. You can use it on drums. You can use it to transform music tracks, or playing with feedback from a speaker. You can just have fun speaking or singing into it. But whatever you do, it's designed around the handheld. In place of a complex interface, the focus is on a broad range of sound possibilities and quick exploration beneath your fingers. You can concentrate on listening and experimentation, as the app produces a range of sounds, fast.

Why we need your help: We want your help to expand adventurous sound-making on the iPhone and other devices, and get this tool from Mouse on Mars' studio and stage setup into your hands. And we want to share all our work as an open source project, so other people can learn from how the tool produces sound and make their own creations.

The app already works, but it relies on a now-defunct player app called RjDj, and lacks some features that make it something anyone can use. We want to build a standalone app with a richer set of functionality, and make it easy-to-use for novice and advanced users alike.

Who We Are: Mouse on Mars are a veteran electronic music duo from Germany who have produced together since 1993. They team up now with Create Digital Music, the music technology site, and editor Peter Kirn, to bring this app to a wider audience. (Peter Kirn is an artist and developer, part of the team that created libpd, co-creator of the open-source MeeBlip synth, and a writer who's been published by MacworldMakeComputer MusicPopular Science, and others.)

Studio- and Stage-Tested

WretchUp screen

Mouse on Mars have already used WretchUp heavily in their work. They've performed using it in front of crowds in small venues and packed festivals alike. They've used it on a couple of studio albums, most notably on the just-released WOW.

In fact, they've produced a special WretchUp-remixed album called WretchDubbed, featuring sounds from the WretchUp app, which we're sharing exclusively with our backers.

Get Involved, If You're a Music Lover, Geek, or Both

You have a chance to make a real impact on the app and mobile music making.

If we earn at least $5000, we'll be able to release WretchUp on the iTunes App Store, and share code for the project.

If we earn at least $10,000, we'll also release a dedicated version for Android devices.

For music lovers and fans of the band, you'll get an exclusive download (or physical copy) of new Mouse on Mars music made for backers of this project. You'll be the first to hear this new music.

For geeks, or anyone curious about making your own sound tools with the free tool Pure Data, libpd, and iOS (and hopefully Android), we'll be sharing code and regular updates. Peter Kirn of will offer tips on how to work with these technologies yourself.

And, for lovers of mobile music, you'll get in on the development process as we refine the final version. We'd love to hear your feedback about what you feel is important in the too

The funds go directly to support development. We need the funds to be able to support development and testing, to make a high-quality app we can distribute to you. The more we raise, the more time we can spend on adding powerful features for iOS and (possibly) Android.

Open Source for Musicians and Sound Lovers

We are releasing all of the code and Pd patches we're producing under an open source license. Sharing is what allowed WretchUp to sound the way it does in the first place. We want to help give back to the music community to allow more of this kind of development:

  • Helping advance mobile development to give more tools to musicians
  • Sharing with the Pd community, which allows people to make their own instruments and effects on any platform
  • Helping more people learn about creative sound design and development

If you're a developer, you can join in and learn about how to use these tools.

If you're not a developer, you still help let anyone use WretchUp free on any platform. 

WretchUp is built with libpd, a powerful open source library based on Pure Data. The inner sound workings of WretchUp can then be downloaded by musicians for use on any platform, free.

(For licensing nerds: patches are released under a GPL v3 license to retain compatibility with other patches. The code itself is released under a BSD license, the same license used by Pure Data and libpd, to allow other people to work with it, even on iOS.)

Spread the Word

Even if you can't support us, help us spread the word if you like what we're doing!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 258 people in 22 days
115% funded
No time left
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on November 28, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    The app, and our thanks

    Get a code for the app download when it's released, and backer credits in the app and source code repository.

    84 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2013
  • $10USD
    Two exclusive tracks

    Get two high-quality, exclusive track downloads from the WretchDubbed album, exclusively for backers. (We'll get downloads to backers as quickly as we can!) + the app + backer credits

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2012
  • $15USD
    Exclusive album download

    Get a high-quality download of the complete WretchDubbed album, made by Mouse on Mars with the app, exclusively for backers. + the app + backer credits

    86 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2012

    Handmade physical album

    Get a lossless audio CD of the complete WretchDubbed album, in an exclusive, handmade, stamped paper sleeve produced by the band just for backers. These 80 copies will be made just for you and not produced again. + the app + digital download of the album + backer credits

    80 out of 80 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2012
  • $1,500USD
    Executive Producer

    Be an Executive Producer of the WretchDub app. We'll provide complete accommodation in Berlin for two nights, and you'll spend two days hanging out with the band, as we cook for you and show you around the studio. You'll meet the team behind WrechDub and get to share unique insights into Mouse on Mars' music making and technological process. We'll also credit you as an Executive Producer of WretchDub in the main about screen and source code repository. + all the extras and surprises

    1 out of 4 claimed
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