Hey Hack Sounds lovers,
We’re having an informal end of year get together tomorrow evening, Saturday 2nd, 6-8pm, at 107 Projects, 107 Redfern St. Come and celebrate the year with us, hear some new tunes, jam, check out the gear, chat with the Hack Sounds team about opportunities for next year, casual drinks and get together.
We’ve had an awesome year of jamming and exploring new gear, plus workshops with some of the best electronic music makers including Deepchild and Rainbow Chan, as well as music making collaborative sessions in-house, and out and about. Come and celebrate with us. Hope to see you there. Love the Hack Sounds crew.

Hack Beats

We've had a few strictly beat-making sessions, and here's some of the resulting tunes, in rough demo form:

AirSticks with Alon

HackSound members were in for a treat tonight with Alon Ilsar coming in to demonstrate the AirSticks! Alon has been a drummer for over 25 years, and has come up with an innovative and intuitive way to perform by triggering sounds (any sound or sample track, not just drums!) through the air using motion-sensing hand controllers.

Many of us were keen to try it as it looks fun and akin to playing a motion-controlled video game.

The AirSticks require you to stand in front of the magnetic sensor and trigger sounds by moving the hand controllers in a striking and slashing fashion. The movement feels quite natural and unrestricted, so you can go for broke and dance too if you like.The buttons on the controllers can also be used to add a sound, such as high hats, or add sound effects. Not only that, you can bring in your feet too by using the Keith McMillen 10 gesture-sensitive foot pad.

For performances, it’s probably a good idea to know what your sound configurations are so that you aren’t lost in virtual space. Each sound is configured and mapped to a trigger point which runs along a vertical line. For instance, you could trigger a sound close to your body and as you move your controllers further out, following the same line, the pitch would increase.

There is a lot you can do with the AirSticks already but future possibilities include using the controllers on it’s side and supporting full body oscillation. Regardless, the AirSticks offer an exciting and new way for music to be more easily accessible to anyone from any background. Cheers to that!

Carmen - Hack Sounds member

Pics and a short clip below:

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Hacksounds x Rick Bull aka Deepchild aka Acharné - 8th May 2017

Having some knowledge in music from 10 years of piano playing and with no experience in Ableton or music production, I plunged into the depths of 107 Projects and attended a production masterclass with Rick Bull aka Deepchild aka Acharné, as part of the Hack Sounds music program.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom I took away:

Start with small steps. Small musical steps. Achievable small steps.

Writing a whole song is daunting but capturing a soundbite is easily achievable.

Make it personal. Start with the sounds from the day to day.

Record it. Whatever it is.

The ambient sound of the local shopping centre. That audio interview. The pop song that's played incessantly on the radio.

Use a dedicated sound recorder or your phone. Just record it.

Start hoarding musical clips.

With the help of Ableton, these musical clips become the building blocks of a track.

The shopping centre audio becomes a loop after effects are applied to it. That's the first layer

The clipped sound of an exhalation in that audio interview could be the sound of a drum's high hat.

Applied rhythmically, judiciously, could be another loop. The second layer down.

The third loop, the slowed down vocals on the pop song becomes another layer.

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There it is, a basic track drawn from the personal experience of the mundane day to day.

More loops can be added of course and there will be more than enough material to work with (remember the hoard of musical clips?).

The end point to finishing a track then becomes an exercise in deselecting, culling and stripping away the unnecessary. 

Take away all the effects, sleep on it and see if the track stands on its own after some time has passed.

Top of the line equipment unnecessary, all it takes is a computer capable of running Ableton. 

There are hundreds of free plug-ins with lots of different sounds and effects out there. 

Technical proficiency not required. 


Rick's enthusiasm for ambient sound was infectious. Creating a track doesn't seem all that daunting now. 


Annabel - Hack Sounds group member

So.... The 2017 term finally kicks off

It's a been a fair bit longer in gestation than intended, but our 2017 term finally kicks off this evening. As we are at (actually above) our capacity, no further applications for this term will be accepted-sorry.

It will be a primarily core skills based term, with electronic music tools and music production our key areas (and fun!!), with DJing, VJing, Music Theory, and Non-Standard music tech ie Mogees/makey makeys etc as additional areas for exploration. We will leave the performance aspects until the second term later in the year, and use this term to build material that can then be utilised in that environment. Our just-hired Associate Producer, Liz Martin, will also bring her many years of experience in music making and teaching to improve further on our previous efforts.

We have a great set of facilitators-a change from last year's having the one key facilitator-check out this killer list:

Production Masterclass with Rick Bull aka Deepchild aka Acharné:
Rick is a legend of Sydney electronica, with his early dub infused albums being very well regarded, and has had great success moving into more Techno oriented pastures since moving to Berlin-he joins us whilst on a brief sojourn home, before he heads back to Europe for the foreseeable future.
Check out some of his tunes: soundcloud.com/deepchild

Production and DJing with Michael Moebus aka Meem:
DJ/Producer Meem is another Sydney legend, recognised as one of Sydney's pre-eminent exponents of Funk, Nu-Funk and Disco, amongst much more. His show Back To Funk has been on 2SER for many, many years, and he continues to DJ and perform live all over Sydney and farther afield.
He will join us to go through some productions skills, and as well as give us a taste of how he goes about preparing for a DJ set. Here's some of his work: meem.bandcamp.com

Airsticks and Non Standard Instruments with Alon Ilsar:
Fresh from his show at the Sydney Conservatorium Of Music for Vivid, Alon will be bringing along his Airsticks to show just whats possible in the realm of creating new instruments, followed by a brainstorming session on what other ways we could create and manipulate music. Check out his website: alonilsar.com/airsticks

Workflow Tips and Tricks with Seduna:
Beat maker to watch, and host of FBI Radio's Glitches, Seduna will swing by to round out the term with a rundown on her process, fave VSTs, and some tips on how to get that bass just so.

But, wait, there's more...
Several more presenters will be involved, and David from Roland will be back to join in the fun.

Regular updates on our progress will be posted, so stay tuned...

Workshop Producer Wanted...

EDIT: Congrats to Liz Martin, a talented musician and teacher (at the excellent Mission Australia Sounds of the Street program), who will be our Associate Producer.

We've just posted our job ad for a new position that has been created within our team-Associate Producer.

View the ad here, it will be an awesome job for the right person.

The Associate Producer will coordinate and manage a 10 week workshop program that engages participants to learn how to make music using accessible and fun-to-use tools, develop collaboration and performance skills, establish mentoring relationships and build social networks.

The Associate Producer will have the prerequisite skills and experience to independently coordinate and facilitate responsibilities, including but not limited to:

Create, or assist in the creation of session plans for Hack Sounds sessions
Set up gear for Hack Sounds sessions
Support external facilitators, and lead Hack Sounds sessions where necessary
Support and guide small to medium sized groups of participants through a learning program
Utilise technology to capture audio and visual content
Maintaining monitoring and reporting documents
Taking part in meetings to track progress of the project
Communication with Hack Sounds group members
Assist to manage logistics where required for group members participation
Recruitment and supervision of volunteer facilitators and mentors
Assist with content documentation, website management, promotion and social media

The role will be around 6 hours per week to start, but this will likely increase as the project evolves. Click through to the ad to apply.

Hack Sounds x Accessible Arts

Accessible Arts provided the seed funding for the Hack Sounds program, to support an inclusive community music program at 107 Projects. They came along for a couple of sessions and our performance, and had a chat with us about the program as a whole.

Take a look at the video, above, with some lovely shots from the film-maker, Hugh Clark, and some background on our little micro-utopian music program. Something which is not highlighted in video is the fundamental underpinning philosophy of our program-inclusion. Hack Sounds is not a disability music program, it's an inclusive community electronic music program, which includes people with a disability. At Hack Sounds, we're strong believers in inclusive practices, for people with a disability, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, different genders, different skill levels, what-have-you. We are an adult "serious leisure" program which seeks to provide a fun and welcoming place to create music collaboratively, utilising tools that are generally very accessible, and be able to be used by all people.

The music in the video was developed by Hack Sounds members, during Hack Sounds sessions, with a little post-production from Hack Sounds producer, Piri Rutherford, check it out below: