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Backstage Blog January 3rd, 2012 Events Hacks Music Hack Day London 2011 By Roel van der Ven

Last month we attended Music Hack Day London 2011. A special one, Music Hack Day was born in London 3 years ago and we were happy to attend a hack day again in it’s homeland.


For those who do not know of Music Hack Day, it's a great weekend-long event aimed at music and sound hackers. Anyone can attend the event for free, and their goal is to conceptualize and develop innovative hacks of either software or hardware.

Dave Haynes and Martyn Davies raised the bar again, by organizing a hack day right in the center of east London, the Barbican. Having gained so much experience in organizing hack days, it was clear from the start that this was going to be good. The Barbican had made three rooms and a cinema hall available to us, plus a central area to serve coffee, drinks and of course pizza.

Picture Picture

It was great seeing all those excited faces coming in, getting ready to hack on their ideas. There were lots of different hackers attending, from hardware to clothing, to musical instruments, from web to applications, some forming cross teams to combine their skills.

Although Spotify had a lot of interest in their newly launch Apps API, it seemed that this hack day was dominated by interactive hacks, where the audience could participate or needed to contribute. During the presentations there were quite some hacks where people could ‘tune in’ their phones or laptops.

While the overall level of the presented hacks was amazing, I can only highlight a few here:

  • The Inhuman Microphone - A circumvention for the “No megaphones” rule. You shout a message in your phone to upload it to the service, where it will send it synchronized to all connected phones and laptops. The only thing you need to do is open a web page.
  • Notorious Siri - Apple’s iPhone 4S voice recognition service called ‘Siri’ is being fooled into singing rap songs. Check out the video:

  • Waveformer - An interface to create high precision audio waveforms by outputting JSON data for every point.
  • SCOTD Showcase - A gallery to show all the SoundClouders of the Day, synced from a Google Spreadsheet.
  • - An octave of owls, the hoots are streamed from SoundCloud. HTML5 audio, works on iPad. Tap or click on an owl to see where it lives and hear it’s hoots.
  • - A service to reverbize your sounds using SoundCloud and the reverb chamber at the National Physical Laboratory UK. You submit a SoundCloud track and it will play in a chamber designed for perfect reverb, get recorded and send back to you when it’s done.

Have a look at the photos made by Thomas Bonte:

That’s a wrap! Want to attend the next Music Hack Day? Keep an eye on the website for upcoming events in your area: The next ones are happening in Cannes and San Francisco early this year.