Mophradat organized and hosted the Less Dependent Music retreat, which took place from September 5 to 9, 2022 at the Matrix Music Studio in Athens. The retreat was led by renowned Egyptian mastering engineer Heba Kadry, and coordinated by Sarah El Miniawy from Simsara Music. The workshop was aimed at women electronic musicians from the Arab world and included Deena Abdelwahed (Tunisia), Elyse Tabet (Lebanon), Marwa Belhaj Youssef (Tunisia), Sandy Chamoun (Lebanon), & Sarouna Mushasha (Palestine).

The five-day workshop, which aimed at advancing the audio production skills of Arab female producers, kicked off with an in-depth session on understanding spaces and rooms as key influences in the trajectory of sound from its source to ears.

Deep listening sessions followed, with juxtapositions of the source mixes of songs and their final mastered versions. Heba guided the producers and encouraged them to develop and incorporate critical listening into their practise, as an essential skill and tool in the audio production journey.

The following day, a more practical exercise took place to further their critical listening, with a playlist put together by Heba containing tracks with problematic mixing or mastering. The producers tackled the playlist individually and came back together to share what they’d identified.

On the fourth day, the group tackled their own mixes, as they worked on mastering them using new knowledge gained from previous days, followed by listening to them collectively on the studio speakers and engaging with the feedback.

On the final day, Heba discussed how you develop confidence as a producer in what one hears and produces: “Your confidence as a producer, checking yourself. Am I hearing right? And ways to be sure of what you’re doing.”

She also emphasised the importance of learning, developing and using the right language (audio and technical vocabulary) when interacting with others, whether producing/mixing/mastering for someone else or interacting with an engineer on one’s own music, as a means of conveying needs with precision and confidence.

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This collective retreat is part of the project “Future Acts,” which is partially supported by the Federal Foreign Office, Germany. Also made possible with the support of the Flemish Government, and in cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung.