Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 19, 2013.

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An epic musical space odyssey by MC Tonguedancer w/ Unisex Starship, and an innovative 32-page LP-sized comic book as accompaniment.

Listen: an audio-visual experience unlike anything you've heard or seen before! Get set for the exhilarating new collaboration between the super-phonic MC Tonguedancer, psychedelic electro-music duo Unisex Starship, and sci-fi comics artist Chris Johnson (follow his current progress). This is the best music and art any of us have yet made, and we're very excited for you to have found us here on kickstarter! With your backing, we can print the books and deliver to you this art and music that we have been working on relentlessly for the last several months. The culmination of three years of work, this end is now in sight, and so much more lies beyond!

Upwards we go...

Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue is a journey on the Unisex Starship as told by MC Tonguedancer. It is a space odyssey, a spacetime opera, a space-scape of myth and dream. An ecstatic song sung by sci-fi in the celestial shower. It is a 40-minute sonic dream-rap adventure, and a beautiful black-and-white 32-page comic book as visual accompaniment.

The story follows two spacefarers as they leave Earth and travel across the solar system and beyond. Along the way, they encounter watery beings who control reality through song, a black hole and other types of singularities, multi-dimensional doppelgangers, and the very limits of time and the universe.

Image from the book, by C. Johnson
Image from the book, by C. Johnson

The Unisex hits and takes us there...

Unisex Starship is the collaboration of DJ Heavy Flow (AKA Richie Morsberger; drum machines and samplers) and Eliot Klein (keys and synth) since 2006. Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue is based on live improvisations by Unisex Starship, recorded while on tour in late 2010, and subsequently edited and arranged.

Listen to some of these raw cuts (demos):

Eliot is producing the album with the help of Evan Levine, a thrilling musician/performer and audio whiz. Evan is also playing bass and guitar and has been building a lot of the equipment that is being used on the album (including a very powerful analog synthesizer that "totally looks like a spaceship!"). 

Traveling through the music are the lovely voices of a number of singers, including the incomparable Megan Biscieglia (of Bad Braids). The out-of-this-world freestyle drummer Julius Masri is on board to lend us some texture and through it all, the super-phonic rapping of MC Tonguedancer engages the listener in this far-out adventure.

There are sixteen tracks, each a unique exploration of the crossroads where music, language, narrative, and myth meet. A great variety of influences is refracted, like a kaleidoscope of Earth's music on the golden record aboard the interstellar Voyager. Some sounds that you can expect to hear: the hum of a starship thruster, layers of dirty keyboard percussion, oceanic piano, deep space blue electric piano, swirling electric organ, rapping synthesizers, hard-hitting compulsive beats, far-future folk melodies, twinkles and bloops, a constellation of voices near and far, and a flock of superluminal meta-gulls.  (Hear some of Eliot's other music.)

Through the wormhole, where words turn back...

MC Tonguedancer wrote the words for Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue in late 2012. In a drafty South Philly rowhouse (a longtime artspace), Eliot's new roommate Chris Johnson, an itinerant illustrator/storywriter, agreed to give Dreams... its visual form. Each song is represented by a two-page spread, illuminated words on one side and a detailed mandala-type illustration opposite. There are 32 pages in all (covers included). Chris has a blog, where you can look at sketches and follow his progress.

Beyond this release, Dreams... will be a live musical performance, with dancers, costumes, setpieces and visuals - and perhaps dreams of another sort.

A text page from the book, by C. Johnson.
A text page from the book, by C. Johnson.

Through the surface...

On November 15, 2013, Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue will drop, as the laws of gravity dictate. The book, as part and parcel to the music, will contain a download code or a CD within. A thousand of these will soon spring into life with the help of your generous contribution. In exchange for your support, we offer a number of dazzling rewards, beginning with the album itself, then special kickstarter-edition dossiers and box sets, various immortalizations, and you can even come to own the original inked pages, straight from Chris' wall! 

image from the book, by C. Johnson
image from the book, by C. Johnson

Much thanks to fellow traveler Shawn Kornhauser for the above video. View more of his work here: PIFAS and here: Walking The Planes.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Too much work has already gone into this project for it to fizzle out. The $4000 we hope to raise on kickstarter simply covers the printing cost of 1000 copies of the book. We will decide how many CDs to print once we have an idea of how many people want the actual disc, rather than the download alone. The costs of musical production have been mostly taken care of. If we are able to raise beyond $4000, this money will go towards the live performance and printing of more CDs.

Perhaps our biggest challenge is distribution, once we've rewarded our kickstarter supporters. We hope to find a distributor, label, or publisher who is interested in supporting this project. If you run such a business or know someone who might like to get this project out to the world, let us know!

A further challenge is having everything finished by mid-November. The way things are going now, this seems to be ample time. The groundwork for the finished tracks is mostly finished, the music and lyrics are entirely composed, and Chris has about half the pages finished, and the rest planned out. I will update our progress as time goes on. We also hope to have a release party around this time, where the music will be performed in full with dancers, costumes and set pieces, with the artwork displayed in a gallery-type setting. Stay tuned for updates about that as well.

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    5 backers

    SPACEPORT TIER: Download of 3 tracks from the album + accompanying artwork.

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    TARMAC TIER: Digital download of the full album.

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    LAUNCHPAD TIER: Digital download of the full album and all artwork.

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    BLASTOFF TIER: A copy of Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue book + (your choice of) digital download or CD.

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    ORBITAL TIER: A top secret dossier containing selections from Chris' conceptual art for the project, various musical scores for the keyboard parts of the music, and digital download of the music in its original live cut + BLASTOFF TIER!.

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    JUPITER TIER: The Unisex Starship Set, featuring a CD-R retrospective of Unisex Starship's best recordings from 2006-2010, through various incarnations (up to 6 members); a CD-R of extended cuts from the 2010 tour; access to a digital archive of these performances in full; custom hand-drawn art on the CD package, each one unique + ALL LOWER TIER REWARDS!

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    EUROPA TIER: The Full Set, featuring a CD-R retrospective of Eliot Klein's best music, all recorded in Philadelphia (with custom art); a copy of Eliot's "5 Years" zine (art/writing about 2012 as perceived in 2007); digital download of some recent recordings by MC Tonguedancer + ALL LOWER TIER REWARDS!

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    DREAMSEA TIER: A limited edition glossy 12X18 poster displaying album art by Chris Johnson + ALL LOWER TIER REWARDS!

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    WORMHOLE TIER: Your hand-lettered name listed in the album credits inside the book + ALL LOWER TIER REWARDS!

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    GALAXY TIER: A special performance by MC Tonguedancer at your party or other occasion of your choice. Within the Philadelphia or NYC areas, unless compensated for travel beyond. And this is + ALL LOWER TIER REWARDS!

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    INTERGALACTIC TIER: Here you become the owner of framed original inked art by Chris Johnson. This is your choice (first come first served) of one of the 13 text pages from the album, with the lyrics of a single song. (You can wait till after the release to make your choice.) Chris wants you to know that the white lettering on black background, as printed, will appear in its un-reversed negative, as inked. These pages are also larger than the printed copies. There are only 13 of these and they will be available after a gallery showing. This is in addition to ALL REWARDS UP TO THE WORMHOLE TIER!

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    UNIVERSE TIER: Become the myth. MC Tonguedancer will write, record and publish a sci-fi rap song about you and your exploits, as per your directions. With this exciting option, you also get ALL REWARDS UP TO THE WORMHOLE TIER!

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    AND BEYOND TIER: This is it. You are the fortunate owner of one of Chris Johnson's original mandala-type illustrations, framed ink on paper. As with the text pages these are larger than the print format. There are 15 of these, one for each track of the album, excepting the prelude. Of course, first come, first served. These will also be available after a gallery showing. And what else is there to say except: PLUS ALL REWARDS UP TO THE WORMHOLE TIER!

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Funding period

- (30 days)