We’re seeing more and more unique ideas for reimagining DJing and the two-turntable setup. Here are two examples from opposite ends of the spectrum: one employs a non-traditional interface to do traditional DJing in a new way, while the other uses the traditional interface to produce new DJ techniques. To me, the latter is more interesting, but both are meaningful parts of the process.

From the excellent PSFK, Dan Gould finds a project by Scott Hobbs, a Dundee University (UK) student, building a project that access sampling, looping, and scratching features via touchscreens, instead of desks. (Via Gizmodo — thanks, Goldfinger!)


Final Product // ATTIGO TT from Scott Hobbs on Vimeo.

Scott has some great other videos on his Vimeo account, as well, and some more product design stuff on his personal site.

Curiously, though, a lot of these kinds of designs wind up replicating existing DJ techniques — techniques that have a history that’s really tied to the hardware, even when that hardware is gone. But a funny thing happens, at the opposite end of the spectrum, when DJs experiment with keeping the hardware but creating new techniques. dj sniff, now artistic director at STEIM, has a really unique style of DJing. I imagine some will love it, and it’ll drive other people nuts. But it’s certainly going in a new direction.

 

You can check out more of his research projects and DJing at sniff’s site. In an extreme example of customizing the existing hardware, he even makes custom needles, which result in spidery, wired sensors.

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The secret sauce for changing the DJing itself is cut ‘n play, a "crossfader-triggered sampler module made with Max/MSP." The result is chopped-up, frenetic sampling that’s tied directly to the existing hardware metaphor. It’s this idea of stretching sampling in DJing that we saw, in a slightly different form, in the open-sourced ammobox Reaktor project.

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What to me is appealing in all of this is that it’s rooted in the way in which turntablism evolved in the first place: abuse of your musical tools to create a new form. The appeal of doing that goes far beyond the history of DJing, of course. It’s not just random abuse: there’s a science to warping musical instruments into new forms.

I look forward to seeing what people do next.

  • http://toilville.com peter

    perfromance wise, I gotta give the edge to dscratch protein.

  • ffffff unky

    gotta give the first video props for using dilla -the red instrumental …such a sick beat

  • contakt

    Wow, I just read through Scott's entire site. It's a really well executed product. I wish him luck. This could be the future of djing – it's certainly more appealing to be than the current solutions (CDJs, Serato (which I own), etc)

  • http://www.theproof.co.nz Proof

    So, which would be your preference if you turned off the screen and just listened?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Personally, I like the crazy, chopped-up DJ Sniff insanity, myself. :) I'm biased, though; I've heard him live.

  • Psykohed

    I think you would have to be really high to actually enjoy it. Yawn…

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  • bliss

    More power to dj sniff, I say! There was a time when most folks were unsettled by what are now considered basic scratching techniques. I could spit out a list of "avant-garde" or "outsider" musicians, who by today's standards would be considered mainstream, but I won't. Do your own damn homework.

  • amplifier

    Wow, the middle third of that DJ Sniff clip is fantastic. I could leave the rest of it though.

    Scott Hobbs' setup is some beautiful gear but it's seems it's not realy doing anything you couldn't do with a couple of buttons and a jog wheel. But I guess it's early days, the hardware's there and I can imagine all sorts of tools and modes you could add to it.

  • Waffle

    word to the uncapitalized peter. even though this rig looks about 10 times more expensive and flashier, Nintendo DS's Scratch Protein makes the better sounds. :/

  • Kobe

    i'm with 'Proof'. turn the screen off & see which sounds better. if Sniff could make it sound just a little better than being inside of a bowling alley ball return or a pool table, i'll start paying attention. all the creative geekery in the world means nothing if it's not actually producing something good to listen to. it just seems arbitrary and unremarkable to me as long as it doesn't sound good. i shouldn't have to be high for it to sound good. i remember walking back to my dorm in college once after a warehouse party.. as i was walking down the road, i had a coke in my hand… the waves from the ocean sounded like shimmering synth pads, and the ice floating in my coke rocking to the beat of my step sounded like a tripped out electronic dance beat. does that make the mc donald's employee who poured it a producer?

  • gbsr

    hell yeah, now were talking.

    now that rig would be damn useful with some mods.

    i wonder, where did i leave that diy touchscreen link again? :)

  • http://www.lonelystreets.com Paul R

    Both look very cool, but from an interface design standpoint, there seem to be some big issues with the first one. Why, for instance, are those buttons so small on a surface so large? I'm not sure if there's a Fitt's Law for touch screens yet, but if there is then we're looking at a violation. Also, if you're going touchscreen, why not go multi-touch? And so on. This seems like an interesting looking step forward, but I think we've still got a long way to go before touch screens provide a worthwhile alternative to the good ol' decks.

  • Keith

    I have been doing basically this same thing with a pair of Nintendo DS running Protein DScratch and a crossfader. Lots of fun, and everyone is surprised at the sounds coming out of a couple of video games.

  • Keith

    Keith, do you have any videos of that? I would love to see it.

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  • Keith

    No I don't have any videos. I really should get a youtube account.

    The new version of DScratch came out last night. It's called Protein[DS] now. I've been messing with it all morning and am thoroughly impressed.

  • http://chewoswelt.wordpress.com Chewo

    [...]DjSniff hat einen lagerspaltenden Ansatz den Plattenspieler als Instrument zu gebrauchen[...]

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  • xBONESstyle

    To people who make the mistake of writing off Sniff's experimentation:

    Consider this approach is extremely unrefined, and he himself probably doesn't understand what's going on here. But even while he's only grasping at the beginnings, it looks like this has a lot of potential.

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  • http://www.remix.net Nathan Ramella

    Very cool stuff, Scott "gets" it.

    Also was happy to hear Aim in one of his videos. :p

  • http://www.myspace.com/lucesybotones Mudo

    They are not new Turntablism concepts because Turntablism concept is partiallity face of reality.

    We are Free Creative Humans using tools to play music.

    The only name that covers everything is Tooltablist (but I prefer leave names and become truly Free (Creative Human))

    About touchscreens… well for 40$ you could do the same with a 100" proyection or over your laptop screen. Don't need a Lemur or Attigo TT.

    There are a wasted money.

    Keyword: Johnny Cheung Lee wii projects.

    Start to dream

  • http://youtube.com/filespnr FileSpnr

    you could update this story with some ipad tricks by me