Genelec at the Red Bull Music Academy

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There's always a lot of rubble when the Academy leaves the building. Not just literally, although the team of designers, architects, builders, and visionaries had long since left the converted office space that housed last year's academy in Toronto. But certainly the bricks and mortar that make up people's notions of other countries and cultures are always thoroughly shaken.

The Red Bull Music Academy is an event that travels the world. A yearly celebration of all the journeys and breakthroughs, all the dreams and intricacies, that go into the music we love. For two weeks, participants check gear, listen to guest speakers from hip hop super-drummer ?uestlove to synth revolutionary Bob Moog on the famous Academy couch, chat on tunes, and spin in clubs, while getting a rare glimpse into local musical hybrids in a different country. In-between times, they can talk to people from around the world who started revolutions in sound.RBMA 5

In Toronto, 60 participants from such a varied selection of nations as China, Finland, Brazil, Japan, and Columbia, converged on several studios that looked more like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey than any familiar classroom. TRG, a bass heavy dub-step producer from Bucharest teamed up with a Nu Rave DJ from London, while an accordion squeezing Mexican maverick happily teamed up with bossa-strumming ragga muffin Phillipe from Lisbon and let nothing but vibes float through your Genelec sound system in one of the studios especially built for this occasion.

RBMA 2But the participants aren't the only ones making tunes in the studios. They get to learn and work with some the world's leading producers. Abstract soul jazz singer Muhsinah from New York vibed with stellar hip hop sensei Jake One, who's chopped beats for the likes of De La Soul and 50 Cent. In the second term, DJ and producer of all things raw and funky, Theo Parrish, teamed up with fellow Chicago native Ron Trent, analogue wizard Russ Elevado, and hip hop trail-blazer Waajeed, to create the kind of atmosphere that few will experience again - whether aspiring beat-maker or professional studio guru. Add the dulcet tones of Irish songstress Niamh and the soulful vocal of Swiss-born Jeylah, and you get harmonies on a track that could well 'mutate your DNA'.
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Toronto was left rubbing its collective eyes in disbelief too, as the presence of the Academy was felt across the whole club scene. From intimate gigs with Nordic space-disconaut Prins Thomas, and Cologne's minimal maestro Superpitcher, to full-blown live shows from DJ Premier and Georgia Anne Muldrow, these consummate performers weren't just sharing their knowledge on the couch, but putting it into real life demonstration in clubland. The considered pinnacle of the range of events was M.I.A., which saw thousands of revellers join her for a master class in how to say 'let's rave' as clearly and as incoherently as possible.
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In 2008, the Red Bull Music Academy will take place in Barcelona from September 21 to October 24.

The Academy is intended for anyone with a strong yen for music and a desire to be involved in its evolution: DJ's, producers, MC's, singers, sound engineers, broadcasters, soulful songwriters - they'll all be considered. The only criterion is that they are over 18.

Applications are being taken until May 5 on www.redbullmusicacademy.com.