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Help build the Distance Organ and a new kind of interactive musical experience: Distance Music.
88 backers pledged $8,710 to help bring this project to life.

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$8,710

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When lightning strikes, people know that every 5 seconds counted until the thunder arrives measures another mile distant. Distance Music at Lake Eola is the first musical experience that uses the same principle to create rhythms around a 45 acre space (and it’s much safer).

The music will be made up of three separate parts. The first will be a brass fanfare tossed back and forth across the lake from the two building tops. The second will use the "Distance Organ": a thousand foot wide constellation of seven radio-controlled train horns precisely located on the 23 acre lake. It will provide a different melody for every step the walking audience takes on the surrounding path. The third part will explore the possibilities of counterpoint with the Distance Organ and 30+ musicians  -  all coming to a big finish.

Think of this as a huge sound-sculpture. Just as an art lover would walk around a sculpture in the museum to see it from every angle, this audience walks around 'seeing' this sculpture with their ears. With every step, a new facet of the pattern emerges as another falls away. The pattern doesn't change, but the audience's perspective does. If the seven horns were a constellation of fixed stars, the audience is an orbiting spaceship, enjoying how the familar pattern changes to one unknown and back again upon returning to the original position. 

This campaign will fund the construction of the Distance Organ and pay the 46 personnel required for the October premiere performance. Here’s the financial breakdown: 

  • Distance Organ construction: $5943.95 
  • Musicians (30+): $3000.00 
  • N2 Gas, 2-way Radio comm rentals: $1115.30 
  • Boat crew (14) Photographer, Radio engineer travel: $1070.00
  • Kickstarter 5% $399.58  
  • Amazon Payments $319.67
  • Hearing Protection for boat crew: $362.22 

Sub-Total: $12,210.94

Grants awarded:

  • ($2500.00) United Arts of Central Florida Artists in Communities Grant!
  • ($1000.00) Awesome Foundation Grant!

Fundraiser Goal: $8,710.94

I’m very grateful that Distance Music is off to a fine start with grants from the Awesome Foundation and the United Arts of Central Florida! Together, they have provided $3.5K towards the $12.2 K project total. Nathan AirChime, the industry standard for railroad train horns has also generously loaned me seven horns. If our goal of $8710 is exceeded, I’ll hire two additional musicians to improvise along the Lake path. My twin brother Kevin is a senior IoT engineer and is building the radio control hardware and code. He and I, and many others, are donating many hours of professional expertise for this project. If sufficient funds are collected over the goal, I will throw a party for the whole team and donors who contributed $60 and up. 

Once the Distance Organ is built, it will be employed many times and slowly grow in size. Since each note is on wheels and battery powered, they’ll be able to go anywhere within radio range of the main hub - no telling where that might be! It’s second appearance will be on November 1st for Orlando’s Creative City event that evening. Distance Music may go to Burning Man, other cities, with orchestras or bands. I would love to compose Distance music to be heard from distant mountains, or in free fall from an airplane… can you imagine what these will sound like?

With your support, this will be first of its kind in the world. No one, as far as I know, has ever tried to use geometry and the speed of sound to create music. I can’t wait to hear what the kind of music will be like to experience - I hope you agree and join us in making this happen!

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SoundNotion.tv "Guerilla Distance Music" episode 174

Risks and challenges

A performance of this complexity will naturally have lots of surprises. There’s quite a bit of sound that I cannot control that will share the 45 acre Lake Eola park space with us. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people will be in the audience, honkings of the hundreds of swans, geese and ducks and overhead air traffic - all are a positive feature of a distance music concert and welcomed. Auto and truck traffic will not be a major problem because the surrounding roads will be closed thanks to the 5K Breast Cancer Walk that morning.

It is my goal to minimize the degree of impact of error and surprises on the performance through careful planning. We have taken safety measures with the swan boat crews in regards to hearing protection and boat stability. If a train horn sounder malfunctions, I will determine whether or not the issue warrants a full stop, which I can create from the control hub, correct the issue and restart. A checklist and logic tree has been created to troubleshoot all of the technical issues we can foresee on location. My twin brother, Kevin, who has designed the radio controlled technology, will also be present to handle any radio/remote control communication problems.

Musical mistakes from the brass will be minimized by the music being simple, easy to read and to follow. A conductor, who will be wearing headphones linked to the communications hub to hear click and cues, will lead each of the two brass groups. The musicians will not be wearing headphones and simply follow the conductor.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    IMAGE TRAIN: A personal "thank you!" note from Keith with the password to the official Distance Music Photobucket photo collection. You'll be able to upload your photo experience of the event and download others'. Images will include those from photography artist, Lesley Silvia!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    GEOMATRIX: A personal "thank you!" note from Keith with a pdf document of the "Distance Music at Lake Eola" geometries map which details horn locations, GPS coordinates, distances and delay times + IMAGE TRAIN

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    SOUND-GEEK: "Distance Music at Lake Eola" sound pressure level graph and BPM tempo changes required for air temperature pdfs + GEOMATRIX

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    AIR-CHIME : You receive a set of engineering documents of the seven Nathan Airchime train horns courtesy of the esteemed Nathan AirChime company. These include engineering application drawings, Polar Graph, and a scanned copy of my K1L horn test sheet + SOUND GEEK

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    DISTANCE SOUND: Audio recordings of the event from two points on the walking path delivered as .wav files + GEOMATRIX

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    18 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    DISTANCE VISION: Invitation to rehearsals + Distance Music at Lake Eola video and documentary (see FAQ for details) + GEOMATRIX package + Distance Music graphics on an American Apparel 2001 T-shirt, shipped

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    COMPOSER: pdf of conductors' score, DAW session file + DISTANCE SOUND package + SOUND GEEK package ++ Distance Music graphics on an American Apparel 2001 T-shirt, shipped

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    CONDUCTOR: Printed full score, 11x17 framed GEOMATRIX signed by Keith and Kevin Lay (composer and radio control designer) + DISTANCE VISION package + DISTANCE SOUND package + Distance Music graphics on American Apparel 2001 T, shipped

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ARTS LEADER: The opportunity to play the Distance Organ, the loudest instrument in the world from a keyboard after the performance at Lake Eola + Dinner with Keith and his wife for 2 guests at the composer's home + full access to performance locations + radio headset to monitor communications between boat captains, brass conductors, city officials, Keith and Kevin during the performance +11x17 color, framed GEOMATRIX signed by all 48 members of the team

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    NEW MUSICAL ARTS CHAMPION: Dedication of a new composition by Keith Lay that employs the Distance Organ. The opportunity to play the Distance Organ, the loudest instrument in the world, from a keyboard after the performance at Lake Eola + New Musical Arts Champion package + DISTANCE VISION package + DISTANCE SOUND package

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    ESTERHÁZY PATRON : A new musical composition and performance by Keith Lay employing the Distance Organ, dedicated to the individual, performed at any safe and legal location within the state of Florida (not including costs for extra personnel or musicians) + NEW MUSICAL ARTS CHAMPION package

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Funding period

- (30 days)