The Premise. Amateur percussionists have always found a way to make music using garbage cans, chain link fences or a desktop as a drum kit. This DIY form of music has found its way to full-blown stage shows, but what if there were a way to turn percussive racket into harmonic music?
The Product. In the tradition of MaKey MaKey, which allowed virtually anything to be a PC input, Mogees is a sensor, a little smaller than a golf ball, that can be affixed to any surface. By connecting to a companion app on mobile devices, the Mogees detects the vibrations of objects being dragged across, tapped on, or any other form of physical contact with the surface it’s attached to. These vibrations generate musical tones like chimes, bells, or strings depending on the app’s setting and the types of vibration.
The Pitch. Bruno Zamborlin, inventor of the Mogees, shows off what the device can do with the help of experimental dance artists Plaid. Among the promotional material is a music video that the two created for a song made entirely with the Mogees, which goes from novel to truly impressive by the halfway point. Additional materials explain how to use the companion app, and an explanation of Song Mode, which allows users to sync up their percussion with a MIDI of a favorite song to play along. Zamborlin needs £50,000 to begin production and keep the price point low.
The Perks. Backers will need to pledge approximately $67 to get a Mogees, either for Apple devices or Android operating systems. The higher quality red sensor and pro version of the app goes for just over $100, and the early access beta version is available for roughly $162. The iOS version is scheduled to ship out in August 2014, with the Android version following in November. Backers who pledge to get the beta device will be making music in May.
The Potential. Upon first hearing what the Mogees is capable of, it’s hard not to feel a sense of awe and childlike wonder of glimpsing a new, musical world with this innovative device. Five minutes later, the feeling is of being stuck in performance art purgatory, where even a heavy dose of Bjork would be a welcome return to normalcy and stability. Artists and urban optimists might be able to create lush dreamscapes and inventive new city soundtracks. Everyone else will likely be responsible for a few minutes of discord and then probably lose interest.