Being a superstar DJ today seems to be about cultivating flowing locks, screaming into a microphone, and pressing a button to drop body-shaking bass. But it wasn’t always like that; it used to involve the tricky fun of mixing discs, and scratching them for improvisation’s sake. If only you could have afforded the deck. One UK-based company is bringing back that vinyl-related appeal with a paper turntable that is musically powered by your iPhone.
The deck is, in fact, part of an album cover — that of DJ QBert’s newly released Extraterrestria record — and despite being made of compressed wood pulp, it is a fully functional MIDI controller. Designed to work with iOS and OSX apps such as Djay, the cover is the work of Novalia, a firm which attempts to bring art and technology together. In this case, conductive materials have been printed onto the surface of each album cover, along with stylized depictions of a DJ’s standard toolkit, turning the paper into a kind of capacitive touchscreen. It connects to your Apple device via Bluetooth, which means there is a fractional delay while instructions pass through the air, but it is a neatly wire-free system.
Without a legion of robots to help with mass production, the making of 1000 of these covers by hand was also a pretty impressive achievement — here is the behind-the-scenes video:
This isn’t the only example of Novalia’s technology being used for musical purposes. Here you can see a couple of prototype printed keyboards in action:
For more info about the technology, check out Novalia’s website.