After 24 hours of hacking, coding and eating plenty of cold pizza, the first ever Reykjavík Music Hack Day came to a close on October 28. In front of their fellow hackers at a packed lecture hall at Reykjavík University, Music Hack Day teams presented their creations. In total, more than 80 participants—who could form teams of up to four people—presented 27 “hacks.”
Creations included everything from the delightfully silly “Infinite Gangnam Style,” a web app that creates a never ending and constantly changing version of the song ‘Gangnam Style,’ to “Tourent Partners,” which helps bands and artists plan tour routes based on their popularity in different cities, and even suggests similar local artists who could be tour partners.
Johan Uhle, who is from Berlin and came to Reykjavík specifically to help organise Reykjavík Music Hack Day, presented his own creation at the last minute: “Daft Hänger,” which is a coat rack that samples sounds from Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster” when the hangers are lifted.
Given that teams only have 24 hours, Uhle says creations at Hack Day never emerge as finished products ready to enter a commercial market. However, Music Hack Day can serve as a breeding ground for programmers to meet, exchange ideas, share information and possibly nurture an idea into a finalised product. Participants were also encouraged to log as much information on their hacks as possible on the Reykjavík Music Hack Day wiki page to share how they completed their creations and any problems they encountered.
“The idea is what survives,” Uhle says. “If you think about innovation as a mesh of possibilities, then we just go down some paths and see what you can do when you combine all this stuff that people have made. Other people get ideas, and it goes from there.”
Other notable hacks:
Wallπ: This app analyzes audio frequency of an album to generate a circular representation of the music, which can be printed into a high-quality poster. The amount of activity within the audio frequency is reflected in the density of the colour, and the colour used to draw the circle is extracted from the cover art, according to the app’s wiki page.
Blast The Beat 3D: This app turns the popular first-person shooter style video game into an interesting way to discover new music. According to the app’s wiki page, players navigate through the 3D game world and come across various billboards playing music. If the player doesn’t like the song playing when they approach the billboard, they can blast the billboard into pieces to stop the music.
AudioTract: This app uses the Kinect sensor device to turn the human body into an instrument. The program uses motion and position to interact with an audio program, allowing users to control the volume and speed of a song by moving.
The next Music Hack Day will be held in Boston, Massachusetts from November 10 – 11. For a full list of hacks from Reykjavík Music Hack Day, see the wiki page.