Skwitch is a remarkable gadget for the iPhone that gives music making the feel of squishing a boob or a buttock. It’s a springy dome of musical control that translates your fingering into expressive gestures – just make sure your hands are warm.
You clip your phone into it and get poking with those fingers. You can use it to play notes in a sequence or perhaps more interestingly you caress your way into some expressive modulations. It’s essentially one button or one key so it’s not as if you can create melody with it, you can only trigger notes that are already there. It’s like you are using it to define the timing of a bunch of notes and then adding expression. And actually the expression side is pretty cool. It can connect to any computer via Bluetooth and offer MPE compatible MIDI control. You can create completely custom mappings within the accompanying app. You could almost see it as a very cheap alternative to the ExpressiveE Touché – possibly.
For playing notes I’m less convinced. You’re just poking a squishy button rather than tapping a screen although it does give the potential for velocity control but it’s not something they mention. One neat trick is that the button can be divided into 4 playable areas where you can set different parts to play notes or chords, add some pressure sensitive arpeggiation to change the direction of the sequence. I guess it all depends on the capabilities of the app and how it relates to the sensors that Skwitch is using to control things.
There’a whole load of content built into the app that seems to focus on getting anyone and everyone playing along with their favourite tunes. As they say “Just press the button to play notes. It’s that easy.” I don’t know, in all the little gifs on the Indiegogo page it looks like a lot of hard work to me. I mean you’ve got 20mm of squish to deal with.
What is remarkable is the price. The Super Early Bird of which there are plenty left is only £22 (£45 retail). So for the price of a vinyl record you could be squishing out your own tunes with this multi-faceted MPE controller. Almost worth a punt for the expressive potential. Or it could be a Christmas present for your most musically inept family member.
- Skwitch Indidigogo page.