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Circuit Breaker

The Du-Touch S is a weird and wonderful new instrument

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The other week a startup showed me how it was trying to reinvent the guitar for 2016: doing away with complicated chords and frets and letting anyone play by pressing buttons. It didn't really work! But another company on Kickstarter is taking the same approach to making music accessible — except it's just gone ahead and made an entirely new instrument.

The result is the unfortunately named Du-Touch S. It sort of looks like a digital accordion, with 26 hexagonal buttons running along each side. The instrument lets you choose what it sounds like, and then you're kind of supposed to play around. The company behind it, Dualo, says that it has "[put] notes that sound good together next to each other," which is supposed to make the instrument easy to pick up and play.

Once you're comfortable playing around, the Du-Touch S is able to record loops and let you begin to construct a song. It seems like it could actually be a cool option for the mostly musically inept (like myself), who might think they have a solid sense of sound but haven't ever learned how to put those sounds together. Dualo seems to position it for existing musicians, too, as an easy-to-use MIDI machine.

The Du-Touch S is nearly done funding on Kickstarter, where it's closing in on $220,000 in sales. And while a lot of hardware Kickstarters come from untested companies, Dualo isn't brand-new: it's actually made an instrument before, the original Du-Touch, which is available and working. This new model is smaller and cheaper, which should make it more accessible and a bit less intimidating.