Remix 17 winners create stellar tracks

Musicians from around Australia were invited to show off their creative skills in our inaugural Con Remix 17 competition. After a long and onerous deliberation process, we’re pleased to announce the following winners….

Open Category:
First Prize: Nick Manton, Astronauts
Second Prize: Joe Mason
Third Prize: Kurt Mikolajczyk
Honorary Mention: Nicholas D’Silva

High School:
First Prize: Max Charles, You will be given access
Second Prize: Thomas Mountstephens
Honorary Mention:  Ashley Chu

> Listen to the winning tracks via Soundcloud

The starting point for this year’s competition was Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Curator and Sydney Conservatorium of Music Senior Lecturer Dr Ivan Zavada set the challenge of remixing samples from Holst’s orchestral suite of cosmic pieces, written between 1914-1916. The judges were looking for something new and original, in any musical or aesthetic genre. “I knew this would be a challenging task,” Dr Zavada said. “The level of artistry was exceptionally high, generating engaging tracks in very eclectic musical styles ranging from electronic dance music, experimental, trap, house, electroacoustic, 8-bit, atmospheric electronic sound worlds and other electronic music journeys.”

Dr Zavada was joined on the competition panel by Sydney Conservatorium of Music academic staff, post-graduate students and industry representatives including: Dr Daniel Blinkhorn, Dr Ben Carey, Rainbow Chan, Paul Mac, Dr Jade O’Regan and Alexis Weaver. Panellists commented on the stylistic diversity of the submissions: “There were some beautiful textures and gestures derived from the source material with interesting layering and processing of orchestral material into new sounds and structures.”

Nick Manton won first prize in the open category for Astronauts, an original electroacoustic work evoking the feeling of floating through varying sonic atmospheres. Dr Zavada commented enthusiastically: “The contrasting sonic effects take the listener on an unexpected journey through time, space and random chaos — overall banging stuff!”

The panel echoed this sentiment, saying: “There is so much to enjoy in this mix. The sound design elements, the selection of samples to create overall form, the hectic drum programming that meshes seamlessly with the sample cuts, the overall sonic punch, all combine to create a rewarding journey. The addition of the astronaut dialogue was an excellent idea.”

In the high school student category Max Charles received first place his track, You will be given access, a quirky take on the remix task. The track features call and response interactions of guitar, synth and original samples, and skilful integration of the vocals to create a unique, spooky, original track with a touch of added humour. It is always a risk going for a comedic take on a remix challenge like this but the fact is, this is an accomplished, well realised piece of music,” the panel said. “The guitar answering the samples is well constructed and the ‘speak and spell’ factor hilarious yet sets up a great narrative device. Max has a natural feel for arrangement steaming from an excellent depth of musical knowledge.”

Open Category:
– 1st prize: $1500
– 2nd prize: Roland JD-Xi Interactive Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer valued at $700, sponsored by Turramurra Music
– 3rd prize: professional headphones valued at $300

High School:
– 1st prize: Native Instruments software package valued at $900, sponsored by Sounds Easy
– Junior prize: professional headphones valued at $300

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At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (the Con) our teaching programs range from classical music and opera to the latest in contemporary, including the new Bachelor of Music (Digital Music and Media). Our studios are equipped with exceptional technology for producing electronic music to support your creativity and future musical career.