Hello music-makers!

It’s me, Adam again – MOD Devices mad resident music hacker & polymath at your service. If you’ve been at basically any music-focused hackathon in the last few years, chances are we’ve met already. I’m also going to be at a bunch of the amazing upcoming music hacking events, including Music Hackday Berlin along with my awesome colleagues from MOD. Quite a treat considering we were just at the amazing Waves Vienna Music Hackday a few weeks ago, where we challenged participants to come up with the best way to transform gestures into sounds using the MOD Duo. If you haven’t already, check out the video above for a little taster of what the day was like!

Now, as you can see, I’m a pretty recognisable person so if you spot me at a conference, festival or hackathon please don’t hesitate to come and say hello! Perhaps you’ll spot me as part of a motley crew, all sporting MOD Devices T-shirts. Come and meet the team!

Waves hackathon attendees loved the MOD Duo, and after our demonstrations we lent out Duos to teams & individuals from all backgrounds, disciplines, and parts of the world. There was such a talented group of hackers in attendance at the event and the Duo ended up becoming an integral part of many of the amazing projects that were created in just a single day.

As you can see from Johannes Wernicke’s project Sweet Spotting the MOD Duo managed to find it’s way into some projects of full “Mad Scientist” calibre. Johannes constructed a device which utilised an Acouspade ultrasonic directional speaker array, microphone, Kinect camera and a Duo to create an augmented-reality sonic environment. Thanks to a motorised mount, it follows a listener around and consistently aims the processed sounds of the space around them directly at that one person, creating a bubble of beautiful sonic impossibility to be enjoyed by one person at a time.

My project at the Waves Music Hackday utilised a MOD Duo, which was processing the sound of my microphone as well as the audio output from a Novation Circuit sequencer & synthesizer. The MIDI output of one of the channels on the Circuit was also controlling a synthesizer, vocoder and autotune pedals within the Duo. The Numark ORBIT is a wireless MIDI controller with multiple banks of buttons, dials, and perhaps most importantly a 2-axis gyroscope. I strapped the controller to my wrist and used the large rotary encoder and the gyro output to control the parameters of my pedalboard.

Naturally, I then donned a pair of EEG-controlled animatronic wiggling ears, fired up some audio-reactive visuals created in Max MSP and performed one of my songs. Now, I’m a big fan of vocal effects & processing (especially vocoding & autotune) and having the freedom to use those types of effects without processing the microphone via a combo of audio interface & laptop like I usually would at my gigs was really refreshing. Both the Novation Circuit & Numark ORBIT are class-compliant MIDI devices, which meant I was able to connect them both via a USB hub and utilise their output within my MOD pedalboard with ease.

The winners of our ‘Gesture to Sound’ challenge were Richard Vogl & Daniel Hütter for their project Metal Stance, which enables guitarists to control elements of their MOD pedalboard by changing their pose or stance. Their demonstration performance was incredibly engaging and the audience clearly understood the relationship between the musician’s body movements and the sounds being produced. Richard & Daniel won a MOD Duo for their amazing work on this great project!

I’m more used to a 24-hour hackathon format, such as those at Music Tech Fest and most other Music Hackday events, but this one-day event really blew me away. It didn’t feel like an 8-hour hackathon, it felt like the final 8 hours of a longer hackathon because all of the hackers just knuckled down and started creating amazing things right from the beginning. It was amazing to see all of the fantastic stuff that people came up with – whether they used a MOD Duo in their projects or not. Thanks to everyone who attended, and for anyone who wants a chance to hack a MOD Duo, our next stop is Music Hackday Berlin – I hope we’ll see you there, and in the meantime keep making music, keep loving life, & keep enjoying your MOD Duo!

  • Adam @ MOD HQ