Sunday, February 07, 2010

3 favorites from Music hack day Stockholm

Last weekend my friend Henrik Berggren organized the Swedish edition of Music hack day in Stockholm. 30+ hacks were churned out in 24h, all for the love of music - so here come three special ones, chosen mainly for their aesthetic appeal.

Radio Free Hackday is a wonderfully analog creation for online music discovery. Simon Hohberg and Robert Böhnke replaced the power supply of an FM radio with an arduino hooked up to a computer (see pic above). The arduino tracks the position of the frequency display and lets the user toggle between music from different cities or music of different genres (based on the and Soundcloud api:s). The music is transmitted to the device via an FM transmitter hooked up to a computer. Kudos for enhancing legacy electronics! I guess the inverse of their hardware hack would be to keep the radio intact but have a multi-frequency transmitter stream your friends playlists on different frequencies. (Or if you're lazy and stick to one frequency, use twitter as a commandline / remote control to change what's being streamed e.g., @radiofreehackday #olofster_playlist.) But then again, where's the fun without the arduino?

Matthew Ogle's HacKey takes your username and tells you what keys define your musical taste in colorful pie charts. Matthew writes that he wanted to build something "utterly useless" but I beg to differ. The data becomes really interesting once you start comparing your taste to other's  - see below a comparison of my favorite keys vs. that of a friend's (I never really use so not sure how accurate the chart is for me, but I'm not surprised Henrik is a C major).
vs. Henrik:

Would be really fun to see tempo and beat data added to this. Alternatively, if given another 24h I bet Matthew could could tell us what the musical mood is of the userbase - or even see if there is any seasonality in it as there seems to be in the Boston Common flickr pictures (btw, this is a great visualization, you get the point immediately without losing any of the rich detail in the raw data). I bet B-flat minor is a winter favorite. Anyhow, now I know which key I am: C-sharp major.

Last but not least, the guys at Winston Design, Alexis, Joel and Arvid, put together an extremely slick app,  Holodeck, which enables artists to create a web presence drawing upon Soundcloud, Songkick, Tumblr and Very clean. And a great name too:)

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