To commemorate the 10th year of the media and entertainment trade show – Mediatech Africa and Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE) have collaborated with Freshlyground and launched MasterMix – an inspiring new competition for emerging sound engineers. With incredible prizes valued at over R130 000 up for grabs, and the opportunity to mix the separates of Refuge, an unreleased Freshlyground track, the organisers were expecting a lot of interest and for that reason have capped the entries at 100. Even more exciting – the winning mix could be released on the upcoming Freshlyground album – a decision to be taken by the band.
The overall winner will received an ASE bursary valued at R100 000 and a selection of gear sponsored by Wild & Marr valued at R30 000.
ASE marketing & communications director, George Hattingh Jnr., explained that to qualify for the competition – hopefuls must complete the online form and pay the R100 competition entry fee. “The first 100 to complete this initial step in the competition will be guaranteed a spot. The seperates will be made available to them and they had until 5 July to enter their work.”
Preliminary judging was completed by lecturers from the ASE and a top 8 short list was announced on 11 July ahead of Mediatech which ran from 17 – 19 July. A rubric was used to ensure a fair process and the judges looked for a mix that’s professional enough for public release. They considered overall energy/vibe of the mix, the tone, levels, panning and effects, as well as the gut feel of the mix was also taken into consideration.
The ultimate winner was voted on by the public at Mediatech at the ASE stand. Although the track was just under 4 minutes long – the public could only listen to and vote on a 30 second segment of each entry. The finalists were anonymous at this stage and the winner was announced at 4pm on 19 July – the final day of Mediatech.
Hattingh said, “The purpose of the competition is not to remix the separate tracks into a new style or genre. It’s to produce as if you are mixing for an album release for the client – in this case the client is Freshlyground – one of the most acclaimed bands to emerge from South Africa.”
Traditionally Freshlyground blends the infectious kwela style and musical traditions from Zimbabwe and Mozambique with elements of pop, jazz, blues and indie rock. According to Hattingh, Refuge is a really interesting multi-instrumental track with brass, piano, guitar and more, and a reggae influence, adding, “The track is interesting and unlike many other Freshlyground music, and has a really upbeat, cool funky vibe. The complexity will make it a challenge to mix and it will set apart those who have talent in mixing from those who don’t.”
Mediatech trade show director, Simon Robinson said, “As a highly respected band, we are really excited to be working with Freshlyground; it elevates the prestige of the competition. This initiative will support aspiring sound engineers and help develop up and coming industry talent. Being able to influence the growth of this industry is important to Mediatech and we are committed to collaborations which inspire, showcase and enhance the standing of those in sound engineering.”
In closing Hattingh said that it’s highly unlikely that the sound engineers who enter this competition will have had the opportunity to mix this kind of quality content. “It will give them a glimpse into their future and a preview of what kind of content they could end up working on. The industry is brutal and this kind of exposure and experience will be invaluable to those who choose to enter.”
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