What the heck is this project?
Borken Telephone is my first album of music about the history of miscommunication by way of geeky stuff like cryptography, video games, philosophy, and Dungeons & Dragons. It collects six years of my best songs performing as Rock, Paper, Cynic.
It's also a musical broken telephone experiment!
What the heck's a musical broken telephone?
I believe music is a universe language. I also believe language is universally confusing, ridiculous, and only as interesting as the mischief you can make with it!
That's why I want to attempt a musical mad science experiment that will push the language of music to its limits, and give us the chance to have a shit-ton of fun in the process. Basically, I've lined up a team of incredible geek musicians who will be part of a gigantic game of musical telephone.
Borken Telephone's title track is a simple 50-second song about a game of broken telephone gone horribly wrong. I'm going to send a demo of it to the 1st guest musician, who will listen to it ONLY ONCE and then write and record their own demo version of it based on what they remember and stuff they make up to fill in any blanks. Their version gets sent to the next musician, and so on.
We'll get to see it morph through lots of awesome artists and musical styles, including folk, alternative, rock, chiptunes, rap and more. I'll cover the last song in the chain as the last song on the album, closing the loop!
All of the recordings are going to be made available for download by ANYONE who pledges the project. This mean every backer is getting 2 albums--one full of 12 original songs, including the first and last broken telephone tracks, and another broken telephone album of 13-17 songs in the sequence of broken telephone recordings.
Who's all playing the game?
What are your songs about?
Borken Telephone is going to be my first album recorded with real studio equipment and musicians, and produced by my friend and musical collaborator Tico Souza! It has 12 songs that are silly, sarcastic and sometimes even poignant. Imagine that you took all your weirdest hypotheticals and geeky "what ifs" that come up when you're daydreaming or talking with friends, and then tried bringing them to life in songs. That's what you're getting!
What if a bodiless AI had a huge crush on its creator but had no way of expressing itself? What if you performed a love song for the NSA by singing security watchwords near cameras and phones? What if a philosopher used epistemology to go on a zombie-slaying spree?
I don't have the answers, but I've got songs that have a lot of fun with the questions.
You should definitely acquaint yourself with my music and see if you like it! Here are three demo tunes you can download for free. They will all be on the album with a full friggin' band made up of longtime musicians Tico Souza, Andre Valerio, Hayden Farrar and Ian Wright and full mix/master treatment!
And imagine The Doubleclicks were featured on a song about geeks falling in love and Kirby Krackle and Adam WarRock collaborated on a fake-protest song about Mario Kart violence? That's what I've got planned!
What are the rewards?
No matter which reward you back, you will get a free copy of Ryan Estrada's comic Broken Telephone and either digital or physical geek music collector cards! Note, the US prices listed are estimates based on the exchange rate at 2:00 am EST on August 21.
How about stretch goals?
$8,000 = Sarah Donner joins as broken telephone musician #13!
$8,500 = Kraken Not Stirred plays a wicked-awesome guitar solo on one of the tracks on the record.
$9,000 = Zach Sherwin joins as broken telephone musician #14!
$9,500 = Bonus EP! I'll be collaborating on a bonus EP with Ariamaki, a very generous backer who helped make this project possible in a major way! For this stretch goal he's agreed to make it available to all backers with pirate-level access!
$10,000 = MC Lars joins as broken telephone musician #15!
$10,500 = A haiku song! Haiku master Write With Lightning (aka James Stevenson) and I will co-write a song entirely in haiku and perform it for you! We'll make the recording available for download. It'll be GRAND!
$11,000 = MC Frontalot joins as broken telephone musician #16!
$12,000 = Alpha Riff joins as broken telephone musician #17!
Risks and challenges
I'm excited to announce that as of August 8, 95% of the core album is recorded, so most of what remains to work on is the broken telephone experiment game. Foruntately, this is my third Kickstarter and I have a lot of experience organizing projects with lots of contributors. I've also set a project timeline with a lot of buffer room to accommodate touring schedules.
For my last project, 365 backers helped me hit 272% of my goal for the world's first anti-self-help comic book and work with 40 guest artists, including Zach Weiner (Saturday morning breakfast Cereal) Abby Howard (Junior Scientist Power Hour), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) and Rob DenBleyker (Cyanide and Happiness) to make it a #1 Amazon bestselling collection of comics.
I have the experience to handle a project of this scope. I'm also working with Tico Souza, an incredible and dedicated producer and musician, to keep recording on schedule, and I've set the delivery deadline as March to give myself 3 months more than I actually need, just in case this project grows in ways I didn't initially expect.
As for the zanier rewards: over the coming updates I'll explain in more detail how they're going to be executed and how I chose them. I've had phone calls with PigeonGram carrier pigeon service to find out how they operate, what their limitations are and how many birds they can fly within a certain time-frame, and I'm really happy with the answers and the quality of care they provide for their birds.
If you do have any questions, though, just fire 'em my way!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)