Chapeau to Music Hack Paris

What happens to a charming Parisian factory when it stops making cardboard? It hosts a Hackathon! They called it Music Hack Paris.

Although cardboard was not involved, laptops weren’t the only tools to be seen. The hackers made sonic sculptures, jammed with old and new musical instruments, and played table football. There being around 100 hackers involved, by the end of the event you pretty much had had a chance to chat with most people. It felt cosy, and the factory’s authentic 19th century furniture and workrooms gave the event a magical atmosphere that many hackathon held in concrete blocks tend to lack.

Building a musical sculpture

The projects people worked on included a healthy amount of web apps, among them some very impressive music visualisers, and an app that could get a song to be played in perfect sync on three different computers, with the user being able to control each computer’s EQ. There were also physical interfaces presented, among them was the Dualo, a fingerboard interface offering clever music theory shortcuts, a musical carpet, and a mouth-controlled wah-wah pedal (now it’s no longer an onomatopoeia). I had the chance to accompany the latter with beatbox during a couple of jams and performances, and also participated in a collaborative loop-making web app. Many people brought instruments to the event, and beautiful jams began sprouting.

One of the jams

Chapeau (hats off to) the organisers: the Google Cultural Institute, JoshFire, the UNESCO, and the Cartonnerie staff. They got so many things right. Splendid venue, great selection of speakers for the lightning talks (including yours truly on behalf of the London Music Hackspace), table football, solid wifi, comfy couches, and what was probably the finest food ever served at a Hack event: croissants, scrambled eggs, pancakes, ah, we felt loved. They even kicked off the demos with a video message of Herbie Hancock himself, giving us his blessing for making creative tools for musicians.

Busy hacking tables at the Cartonnerie

Herbie, our pleasure.

Check out the latest pictures, sounds and videos of the event on the event’s home page:
http://www.musichackparis.org/

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