The five Best Hacks of the Way Out West hack battle

To hack proof-of-concept demonstrations of what technology can do with music, coders gathered together from across the world at the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg.

Way Out West festival in Gothenburg.

The submissions covered a huge spread of what's possible, including using fruit as percussion, sound hashtags, an infinite run game based on your favourite tracks, and fridge poetry playlists. Here are five of our favourites.

The Saddest Stylophone

Paul Lamere from the Echo Nest is a veteran of many Music Hack Days, and can usually be relied upon to turn out something impressive. This time around he built a web toy that automatically adds a stylophone accompaniment to any song. 


Frinsh and Dead3t3rn1ty put together a hack that pulls out those polyrhythms, time signatures and drum patterns and applies them to other tracks, ripping them apart and putting them back together in confusing and disorienting ways. Unfortunately there isn't a demo available online yet, but hopefully it'll arrive before long.

Panflute Hero

A team ripped apart a panflute and added audio sensors that feed input to a Raspberry Pi. That's connected to a computer that can tell when you're blowing down the correct pipe in time with a song. Impressive stuff.

Play It Again Sam

A surprising number of songs on Spotify have only been played once. MatthewL3 and Kevdsouza put together an app that tracks those songs and plays them to the user at random, doubling their listenership. 

Music Map

Finally, a team put together a really nifty demonstration of the importance of interface design. Music Map lets you explore the most important artists in any geographical area of the world over any time period. It's a fascinating way to browse and discover new music. The only problem? There's no data from North Korea.

Those were the best hacks on offer, but it's worth taking a glance at the whole list which can be found right here. If you've got an idea for a hack you'd like to build, keep an eye on Spotify's developer pages, and on Music Hack Day.

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Write by: RC - Sunday, August 11, 2013

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