The Weekly Kickstarter: Chromatic Celebrates the Color of Music

Most of us have heard, say, Jimi Hendrix describing the "color of music". Rather than just being an interesting turn of phrase, however, synesthesia -- the involuntary association of colour with sound -- is actually a relatively common condition that affects many artists and musicians. This week's featured Kickstarter project, Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music, is aimed at celebrating this phenomenon through a vibrant, full-color book that documents the science and artists involved with the intersection of color and sound.

Most of us have heard, say, Jimi Hendrix describing the “color of music”. Rather than just being an interesting turn of phrase, however, synesthesia — the involuntary association of colour with sound — is actually a relatively common condition that affects many artists and musicians. This week’s featured Kickstarter project, Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music, is aimed at celebrating this phenomenon through a vibrant, full-color book that documents the science and artists involved with the intersection of color and sound.

Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music is a collection of art and writing by Chris Force (who is lucky enough to have the best last name on the planet) and ALARM Press. The book consists of nearly 400 pages of full-color prints that explore the many ways that bold imagery and sound have always co-existed, up to and including some of today’s most notable musicians. Throughout 12 chapters, Chromatic covers a lot of ground regarding its topic, explaining its subject matter and providing striking examples of synesthesia’s place in contemporary music.

Force and ALARM have compiled an exhaustive look into well-known composers and musicians that experience musical synesthesia and the science behind the condition. Among the topics that make up Chromatic are; color-based concept albums, a theoretical discussion on the relationship between synesthetic experience and the creation of music basics (like timbre or blue note usage), the art of band photography and stage shows and much more. Artists that are featured in Chromatic include Jónsi (of Sigur Rós), Holy F*ck, John Zorn, Ratatat and, naturally, Blue Man Group.

ALARM Press, based in Chicago, Illinois, has always been devoted to spreading the good word about underground up-and-comers (from all musical genres) and Chris Force, ALARM’s editor/publisher, seems to have discovered one of the best ways to further his publication’s goals with this latest effort. Chromatic looks to be an aesthetically stunning and lovingly unpretensious celebration of sound and music, a work that can be appreciated by both music and art nerds alike. Its combination of hard, fact-based writing and appreciable-at-a-glance print work makes it a book worthy of reading by the casually interested or seriously invested.

But, of course, this wouldn’t be a Kickstarter project if Force and ALARM Press didn’t need assistance in order to make Chromatic a reality. Because the book is composed entirely of full-color pages (and what would be the point if it wasn’t?) it requires quite an investment to get through the presses in its intended form.

Project backers will receive any of a number of great gifts in return for their funding. The first set of rewards, an immaterial sense of just being a good person, doesn’t go on a coffee table or bookshelf. The second set, however, does. Pledges at the lowest tier (of $25) receive a paperback copy of Chromatic and gifts skyrocket from that point upward, plateuing with a delicious Ovation guitar package for the $2,000 and up mark.

Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music will be funded on Friday, April 8th at 2.40pm EST (if its pledge goal of $15,000 is reached). Do a click, take a look and consider donating to a very impressive project.