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Build a band of portable, virtuosic, futuristic music robots. Create new music for them and a human duo. Tour the world. Rock out.
Build a band of portable, virtuosic, futuristic music robots. Create new music for them and a human duo. Tour the world. Rock out.
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127 backers pledged $8,165 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$8,165

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Help thwart the imminent robot vs. human wars by demonstrating how fun, cool, and sonically interesting it can be when humans and robots combine their powers for good!

Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI) is comprised of Troy Rogers, Steven Kemper, and Scott Barton. Since 2007, the group has been designing, building, and composing music for robotic musical instruments on a shoestring budget. EAR Duo—Dana Jessen (bassoon) and Michael Straus (sax)—is an incredibly gifted, innovative, and engaging force in new music. The duo is ready to tap into the power and promise of EMMI’s musical robots. EAR Duo is commissioning EMMI to create an ensemble of next generation robotic string and wind instruments for a series of upcoming performances across the US and Europe.

The current state of musical robotics resembles that of electronic music 50 years ago. Robotic instruments are poised to explode forth from research institutions onto the larger musical scene, creating new genres and transforming existing ones.

But, as in the era of modular synths created by people like Buchla and Moog, it's going to take extraordinary machines—both in terms of design and sound—to instigate such a revolutionary transformation. It’s clear that these machines must be designed by musicians, for musicians.

We're ready to start the party, but we need your help!

$7000 is the absolute minimum amount we need to raise to make this happen. So give what you can, tell all your friends, and join us in this endeavor.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Exclusive web updates, backer credit on the EMMI and EAR Duo web sites, and unending gratitude from us and the robots.

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    7 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Exclusive audio/video downloads of recordings from our upcoming tours. Plus web backer credit and eternal human/machine gratitude.

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    16 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signed, limited edition CD featuring live tracks from the tour and a thank you note, plus a spare laser-cut acrylic part—your own little piece of music robot history! Plus all previous incentives.

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    37 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Cool commemorative T-shirt featuring graphic of the robots you’ll have helped create! Plus all previous incentives.

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    17 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Super geek poster featuring schematics, functional diagram, photo of the new robots, and more, signed by us. Backer credit on the T-shirt. Plus all previous incentives.

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    7 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $82 or more About $82

    A copy of the "Agents against agency" DVD from EcoSono (see update #7), signed by EMMI co-founders Troy, Scott, and Steve. Plus all previous incentives.

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    Limited 2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Tour DVD with performances & behind the scenes footage. Backer credit on the prototype—your name or a name of your choosing, laser-engraved into MARIE 1 (the closest you can get to having a robot lovingly tattoo your name on his/her ass!). Plus all previous incentives.

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    20 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1-hour long bassoon & improvisation lesson with Dana Jessen via Skype. Plus all previous incentives.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1-hour long saxophone/electronics/art of touring lesson with Michael Straus via Skype. Plus all previous incentives.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1-hour long composition/musical robotics lesson or consulting session with Scott Barton via Skype. Plus all previous incentives.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1-hour long composition/musical robotics lesson or consulting session with Steven Kemper via Skype. Plus all previous incentives.

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  12. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1-hour long composition/musical robotics lesson or consulting session with Troy Rogers via Skype.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Personalized, 1-hour performance/demo/Q&A session with EMMI and/or EAR Duo and a selection of our robots via Skype. Great for anyone! Fun and educational for your child's class, scout group, or birthday party. Plus all previous incentives.

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    1 backer
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    EAR Duo + the robots will perform an exclusive musical work for you over Skype or dedicated to you on YouTube or via Skype. A signed DVD of this work sent to you. Plus all previous incentives.

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  15. Select this reward

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

    Robot dedication. An arrangement of your requested song for the robots, posted on YouTube and dedicated to you. A signed DVD of the arrangement sent to you. Plus all previous incentives.

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    0 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Robot love ballad. We'll compose a piece for you, and the robots will perform it for you via Skype and/or YouTube. You'll get a signed DVD of the work and commissioning credit in concert programs whenever the robots perform your piece. Plus all previous incentives.

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $6,000 or more About $6,000

    Robot + EAR Duo performance at your wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, birthday party, funeral, or other event. Limited to locations within 1000 miles driving distance of Charlottesville, Virginia. Plus all previous incentives.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    Let's talk!

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Funding period

- (34 days)