So, it’s become a yearly Brighton Music Hub tradition to have the guys from ace local organisation Audio Active over each year to do a series of masterclass workshops. They bring a small mobile setup with them consisting of a laptop running Ableton Live, an Akai APC40 (midi controller) and an external audio interface. We provide mics, stands and any other bits they might need.
Any young people who feared it might be a dry music tech lesson soon had their mind’s changed as the two tutors (Ollie & Jon) introduced themselves and demonstrated their skills and the possibilities of the technology. Ollie was beatboxing and building loops on the fly in Ableton and Jon was freestyling over the top, even getting us to shout out random topic suggestions that he could rap about ‘off the dome’! It was a very impressive display and everyone was immediately engaged and on board :-)
A microphone was passed around so that beats could be built up layer by layer out of whatever sounds we wanted to make. These sounds were twisted and processed: for example a sung line being pitched down by an octave and having an LFO applied to make a wobbly dubstep bass. A midi controller keyboard also did the rounds so that more traditional synth and drum sounds could be played and added in to the mix.
After the break Jon initiated a lyric writing session. The young people came up with various ideas they might like to write about, then there was a vote to choose which one to focus on. The topic of dreams came out on top; a nice wide subject that could encompass daydreams and hopes/aspirations, as well as the nocturnal sleeping dreams (and nightmares) that our crazy brains conjur up every night. Loads of really good chat and food for thought came out of the session and everyone made a start writing down some lyrics that could be rapped or sung for later workshops.
Overall a top inspiring evening for BMH young people and staff alike! More from subsequent Audio Active masterclasses coming very soon…