Have you ever wondered what it would be like to interact with the music you listen to? We have, and we’d like to make that possible with your help. Every album you’ve ever heard is exactly the same as the first time you heard it, and it will be the same the next time you hear it. Starbound is different. It’s an album that changes each time you play it, and the more you play, the more it changes. Confused by what we mean? Check out our HTML5 Audio Demo.
In April of this year we released Earthbound on Porto Franco Records, a small San Francisco based indie label. We had the opportunity to work with some amazing people, NASA scientists, musicians, authors, and artists. This project is the sequel to that effort. Starbound is a remix app to Earthbound that will include millions of remixes that adapt to your input. Starbound is an ambitious project that will also include sonified light curves (the sound of actual stars), an augmented reality space flight game, and an interactive art widget that includes a comic book written by award winning sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor, artwork by Facebook muralist Jonathan Matas and original illustrations by Tanna Tucker, and tons of unlockable content, from unreleased songs and artwork to star charts to mini-games and playable instruments.
An upgrade from our beta version available on the app store that allows you to remix our song Phone Home using any 10 digit number. Every phone number will have a unique version of this song! For those of you counting that’s 10 to the 10th power or 10 billion remixes.
This will be a 24 hour long remix to our song Wake Up that changes in 5 minute increments. In order to hear the same version of the song you’ll need to set an alarm.
Your story remixes the song. Remix our song Stories using 140 character tweets. You will be able to write a story, hear what it sounds like, and then share it with friends via hashtag. For those of you counting, we have no idea how many remixes this is, but it’s a LOT.
Karaman Line is an augmented reality game played on the back of the Earthbound CD, or by using a printed AR marker. You will be able to see a “hologram” of the CopperWire spaceship hover over the words “copper wire” written in the Ethiopian language of Amharic. Once you launch the ship you will be able to fly through space listening to remixes of the Earthbound album. The spaceship flies with the rhythm of the music, and your actions in the game will determine the how the songs in this app are remixed.
SoundTouch will use original interactive artwork by facebook muralist Jonathan Matas to unlock hidden content including, interviews and unreleased songs by CopperWire. SoundTouch will also include paintings, and sketches from other artists including illustrator Tanna Tucker. This widget will unlock a 20 page comic book written by DC comic writer and renowned sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor based on CopperWire’s Story.
We utilize a system that binds musical elements to data using the rules that govern harmony and melody. The rearranging or changing of these data sets creates variations (remixes). We realized that every song at its core is an abstraction that exists as just one iteration of virtually infinite possibilities. We just try to account for as many of these possibilities as we can using a little bit of math, a fair amount of code, and a whole lot of experimentation. The Remi(x) system allows for literally any input data to be turned into musical variation; anything from the rotation of the Earth to how you’re feeling today.
If want to see it in action check out the demo web app! (chrome only).
Jon Jenkins was kind enough to allow us the use of some of his stellar light curve sonifications. What are stellar light curve sonifications? Basically they are interpretations of the sounds of stars based on their brightness over time. Jon found certain stars which pulse at regular intervals (like a drum) and took this pulsing and transformed it into sounds. We take these sounds and modify them using a variety of synthesis and analysis techniques.The end result is a truly unique sonic landscape.
Augmented Reality Game
The words "copper wire" written in Amharic are designed in such a way that it can function as an AR marker. Utilizing the Qualcomm AR toolkit Vuforia, the app reads the marker and pulls a 3D model of the CopperWire spaceship from a server that can be manipulated in real time in the Unity 3D Game Engine. From your perspective the spaceship actually appears in front of you. Once activated the ship then travels through a space tunnel and will encounter obstacles and bonus pickups that will create additional variations on the music using the Remi(x) system.
Have a question about how something works? Or even about something else? Please, ask us a question! You'll be helping us, and everyone else who visits. You can message us, or use the link at the bottom of the page.
We're very excited to get started on this project but we need your help. We have a talented group of collaborators, experience in mobile and web development, and all the necessary pieces to put the puzzle together. We have basic prototypes for most of the pieces of the app but we still have a lot to do, we still have to...
- create the music
- record, mix & master
- turn star sounds into music
- purchase developer licenses
- pay development costs
- develop the app itself (lots of code!)
- alpha & beta test
- design the comic book
- create the 3D models
Some of these things cost money, some of them just take a lot of time...and time is money so pretty much we need money to cover the costs of producing a project of this scale.
The short answer is absolutely. The development team that will be working on Starbound has a broad spectrum of skill sets that include 3D modeling, graphic design, app development and musical composition experience that ranges from Hip Hop to Classical to Dubstep to Tech Metal. The lead developers Ellias Fullmore and Chris Coniglio have both studied generative and adaptive music and have applied the theories behind this process in several previous iterations that include a 180 degree projected video game, a generative music touch table game, music from brain waves, and an HTML5 web app that applies the concept of Musica Universalis to make musical compositions generated by the orbital motion of planets, moons and stars. As owner of AppSynth Media, Ellias has designed and produced (among other apps) a beta version of one of the elements of Starbound, Phone Home Remi(x) currently available on the app store. At this point in the process we have the enthusiastic support of an impressive list of graphic artists, scientists, musicians, network specialists, app developers, and most importantly fans who are just as excited about Starbound as we are.
CopperWire - The Ethiopian American sci-fi Hip Hop group consisting of Senior TED Fellow, songwriter and cultural activist Meklit Hadero , Seattle underground hip hop legend Gabriel Teodros and rapper/ producer Burntface provide the lyrical content and inspiration behind StarBound
Chris Coniglio - Chris, producer of the Earthbound album, is a classically trained musician and computer programmer who is the technical wizard behind the code, design, and much of the musical composition behind Starbound.
AppSynth Media - Ellias Fullmore AKA Burntface in addition to being a rapper/ producer is co-owner of AppSynth Media an Oakland based app development start up. AppSynth Media has collaborated with CopperWire in the past and is looking forward to working on the Starbound app.
PortoFranco Records - PFR has been generous enough to be supportive of this experiment called Starbound. As the label explores news ways to be relevant in the age of "free downloads", owner Peter Varshavsky has been an invaluable resource.
Nnedi Okorafor - The award winning science fiction author has contributed an original story inspired by the Earthbound album and is considered an honorary member of CopperWire. She has helped to garner suppor for CopperWire among the sci-fi and comic book communities.
Dr. Jon Jenkins - Jon is an analyst at NASA Kelper labs, who has produced sonic light curves (the sound of stars) created using data from NASA's Kepler Spacecraft. Dr. Jenkins was been gracious enough to allow us to use his work to make "star" music.
Ray Gilstrap- Ray is a network engineer and acting CTO at NASA Ames Research Center, finishing his PhD. in Electrical Engineering. He is a data networking specialist who has volunteered his time and expertise as consultant on this project.
Jon Matas - Jon is a painter, muralist at Facebook. He will be contributing artwork to the SoundTouch interactive art widget included in Starbound.
Tanna Tucker - Tanna is an illustrator, comic book artist and co-creator of Sea Wulfe, she will be providing original character designs inspired by the CopperWire science fiction story.
You- At the end of the day, you provide the input data and create your experience, without you there would be no Starbound.
- (30 days)