Country Always

Country Always

Caring for Country

A Corner of the Empire

A Corner of the Empire

The Garden Palace

The Holding Pen

The Holding Pen

The Agricultural Hall

Regional Networks

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Across New South Wales

A Museum of Doing

A Museum of Doing

Technological Museum

Transforming the Tramsheds

Transforming the Tramsheds

Powerhouse Stage 1 and the Harwood Building

A Symbol in Time

A Symbol in Time

Sydney Observatory

Ongoing Transformations

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Defining the terms in the 21st century

Steam Engine Blues

Steam Engine Blues

Sounding the Collection

Powerhouse Renewal

Powerhouse Renewal

Sydney Science Festival

Sydney Science Festival

Across Sydney10—17 Aug
Exoskeleton

Exoskeleton

Powerhouse Parramatta

Blak Powerhouse

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Powerhouse x We Are Warriors

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Stories

Steam Engine Blues

Sounding the Collection
Ableton x Powerhouse Music with SOLLYY

To launch the Sounding the Collection sample pack from Powerhouse and Ableton, SOLLYY, Salamanda and Jonnine were commissioned to demonstrate how these sounds can be reimagined into music.

SOLLYY is an upcoming artist, producer and DJ based in Western Sydney. Having worked with some of Australia and New Zealand's most exciting acts such as Onefour, 1300 and Pania, and through his DJ sets, Sollyy has created an audience of people who aren't just fans, but a community.

I use so many different sounds that have been sampled so many previous times in Hip Hop. Those sounds have such a lineage to them you know, and using those sounds in my songs pays homage to the music I listened to growing up and to the beautiful world of Hip Hop. It was really interesting coming into ‘Sounding the Collection’ because it was the chance to do that from a completely different historical context, which I was now predisposed to learn about and use in the same manner.
SOLLY

Interview

I was really drawn to the steam engine sample as a metaphor for how I perceive myself to continuously pursue my career. It inspired me to build the song around this motif of a steam engine constantly whirring. It's a really driving sound. That's all I was thinking about when I was making that song – what really drives me to keep going in spite of all these obstacles.
Object No. B2264
Small steam engine used at a gold mine, 1860–1880
The industrial revolution was because of a steam engine. And I feel like we're going through a cultural revolution here in Sydney. The things we do now could be considered as the steam engine pushing everything forward. I was like, that'll be really cool to build the track around, because I think the steam engine itself signifies a lot of change: new developments, new ideas and new technology, which considering everything that's happening now in Sydney is becoming more relevant.
Object No. A4208
Bird in a Cage Automation, Paris
‘I used the Automaton for some type of percussion. I just heard it and I thought, ‘Oh this will sound really sick just being something that's constantly ticking through the beat’. Because the beat changes so much and the samples do so many different things I felt there needed to be something that grounded the entire song. I found out that's kind of the function [of the automaton]. It's keeping a consistent time. It serves its intended purpose.
The Atari made random little squeaky sounds but I found it really interesting to flip it. I brought out the harmonic frequencies, so it sounded like it had a note. I distorted it to make it louder and I ended up adding a tail to it. It kind of sounded like a vocal sample if you didn't know what it was. I treated it like that because I love when beats or songs have random little vocal shouts or little one-shots they use only a few times in the beat.
Object No. 2003/119/1
'Atari CX2600 VCS' electronic toy
The sound [tuning fork] has a really long release to it and it's a really dull sound as well. This is what's used to tune instruments but the actual note itself was sort of de-tuned. So, I took it as a challenge to make something melodic out of that tuning fork sample and ended up turning it into the chords you hear in the first half of the song. To be able to take something as resonant and as sharp as a tuning fork and turn it into something really soft, really lush and really melodically pretty.
Object No. H5150
'Philharmonic Continental Society of Arts' tuning forks made by John Walker
I'm such a bare necessities producer. It just has to make sense in the context of the song. Being presented with a sample library was like, ‘Oh okay, I actually don't have the free reign that I do normally’. Being constricted to only these sounds and having to figure out what my taste aligned with I think really helped me exercise a muscle in terms of ingenuity. Like, ’You've only got this much, what can you make out of this? What kind of story can you pull from these sounds?’ Seeing my ideas still drive underneath all that really affirmed me.
Object No. 2002/47/1
Charkha (spinning wheel
The samples are whatever you make of them. You can go into it and have an idea you already want to convey, or a story you already want to tell, and these samples can get you there. It's up to you how you interpret the use of them, how you want to stretch them. We live in such a time now where you can make a sound out of anything. You are just bound by your idea and your interpretation of whatever you think that sounds like.

Steam Engine Blues – SOLLYY

Used Sample

In his track STEAM ENGINE BLUES, SOLLYY used samples from seven objects in the Powerhouse collection. Here are the remainder, not listed above:

1/2
Object No. 87/234
Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons

Artist

Solly is an upcoming artist, producer and DJ based in Western Sydney. Working with some of Australia and New Zealand's most exciting acts such as Onefour, 1300 and Pania, and through his DJ sets, Sollyy is building an audience of people that aren't just fans, but a community.

His work rate and talent have already seen him produce a rap project alongside DXVNDRE and his first solo work, contributing to him being crowned Producer of the Year in the Acclaim All Stars Class of 2023, and now he’s gearing up to drop a debut EP in 2024.

Sounding the Collection x Ableton Cover Image

Sample Pack

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Sounding the Collection sample pack from Ableton for free and read more about the Ableton Project

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Creative Commons

Non-commercial with Attribution and Attribution Share-Alike licenses. Both require attribution and have limited restrictions. Attribution should be given as Powerhouse.

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Sounding the Collection

From an automaton bird cage, and an art deco clock to toy robots, tuning forks and steam engines, Sounding the Collection is a sonic archive from Powerhouse that brings objects sitting silent in the collection to audition.

The archive hosts over 100 recordings designed to be shared publicly inviting artistic interpretation and collaboration into the sonic archive. These recordings allow musicians, researchers, and sound designers globally to repurpose and interpret them via a ‘sample pack’ – potentially finding their way into sonic identities, movie soundtracks, foley, pop songs, and sound installations.

Powerhouse is working to fold sonic archives and sonic interpretation of the collection’s material culture. In addition to Sounding the Collection, the museum is host to a range of projects that activate and listens closely to its objects. This includes the Oscillations podcast series, collaborations with Research Fellows, and performances with collection instruments.

Powerhouse Collection

Powerhouse is custodian to more than half a million objects of national and international significance and is considered one of the finest and most diverse collections in Australia.

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Research Scholars

Powerhouse Museum operates an annual program to support research of the collection, museum practice, learning and public outcomes.

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The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.

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