Published Aug 29, 2016A group of engineers at Memorial University in St. John's are trying to change how electronic musicians interact with collaborators and audiences via the development of a new instrument they call the Mune.
While prototype stages for the electronic instrument have been on-the-go for a few years, a Kickstarter campaign was recently launched to further fund the development of the Mune. The campaign describes it as a "new device that combines the power of digital music gear with the simplicity, soul and expressiveness of an acoustic instrument."
The wireless, portable instrument can connect with various apps and is also compatible with MIDI, Ableton Live, Traktor, GarageBand, Resolume and more. Musicians can assign sounds to various sensors, which are accessed by touching the body of the Mune. This could be used to trigger samples, drum sequences and more.
Project founders Scott Stevenson and Andrew Staniland have been prepping the instrument since 2012. Staniland, a composer and faculty member at MUN, had been performing with a laptop, but was looking for a better way to engage with other musicians.
As explained in a video on Kickstarter, he felt he was "at a disadvantage" while working with classical musicians by being beholden to his gear. Rather than being crouched over a table of controllers or a laptop, the Mune can be held much like a harp or guitar, theoretically offering electronic musicians a more "expressive" experience than working off of a laptop screen.
"We wanted it to be a really versatile instrument that you could really hold any way," Stevenson told CBC. "That's why it's kind of got this symmetry to it, you can turn it, hold it a bunch of ways and play it different ways."
The Mune team are currently seeking $100,000 to bring their instrument to the public. Funds will be used to cover the manufacturing costs of their first run of commercial units.
Various incentives are being offered through the campaign, from posters and T-shirts, to Staniland's Mune-employing Talk Down the Tiger album, to an actual Mune. Various versions of the instrument are being offered through Kickstarter, with the price starting at $776.
At press time, the Mune makers have raised over $27,500 of its $100,000 goal. The campaign runs until September 24. You can find out more info over here.