Fun with Turntables: Liberating the Decks By Dancing, Loading Hacks as Records

Here’s a way to change the relationship of dancer and deck: instead of the record “triggering” dancers, the dancers move the record. In “Autistic Turntable,” movement from onlookers gradually moves the platter. The work debuted earlier this year in the Nósomosòn exhibition at Normal at the Universidade da Coruña, España. It’s just one experiment in turntable re-engineering from artist, open source advocate, and electronic composer Servando Barreiro. In BInaer Platten, he modifies the mechanical turntable to instead read binary-encoded records with other audiovisual media. Seen at this year’s Transmediale 12, Servando’s work was some of the most practical to respond …

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Mechanical Motion: Drawing with Turntables, Phasing with Film Projectors

Speaking of mechanical motion and machine drawing, in the work of Robert Howsare, vintage equipment becomes part kinetic sculpture, part machine artist. In “Drawing Apparatus,” two turntables become a generative geometric drawing machine, Spirograph-style. (See some really lovely-looking renders by this machine on the artwork project page. Via Today and Tomorrow, hat tip to portable.tv and Cool Hunting.) The revolution of the records create drawings that serve as a markers of temporality. The drawings also speak to the idea of the editionable print through their ability to be replicated using domestic materials. IV Phases is a hypnotic work involving phasing …

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FOUND Installation Plays Narration, Robotic Music with Vinyl, Unravels Truth

One perhaps unexpected impact of technology has been to change the way we think about ourselves and our experience. Recording equipment – from photography to phonograph – has given us a new sense that memory itself might be fixed, unchanging, an accurate record of an unmoving truth. Except, of course, neither the recorded object nor the thing it is recording ever quite seems to work out that way. (Ask your local theoretical physicist, or for a more localized, humanized, sociological view, any loved one.) UNRAVEL is an installation that uses just those sorts of technologies to construct a narrative, and …

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Projection Mapping Meets Turntablism: Serato DJing and Live Visual Feedback

Rooted in pre-digital tradition, the turntables and mixer here get a different kind of digital upgrade: sound-responsive visuals transform the decks. Built by Austin, Texas-based student Mark Morris, artist E.N.S., and collaborators, this work in progress demonstrates what happens if you point the projector directly at the DJ’s rig. Cleverly, they map the platters themselves as they rotate, as well as add interface elements from the DJ software and responsive audio waveforms. From Mark: This is a projection mapping project we’ve been working on for about a month as of uploading. It’s a user interface for Serato Scratch Live that …

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Like a Wheel Within a Wheel: Beautiful Optical Turntables Generate Spinning Rhythms

Music is deeply tied up with motion; seeing that in a machine is somehow satisfying. Soundmachines, from the enigmatically-titled Berlin studio TheProduct*, is an interactive physical installation made from optical turntables. By moving the “tone arm” – really in this case an optical sensor attached to an extended mount – you can change rhythms and sound sweeps. We’ve naturally seen many visualizations, tangible and digital, that make loops into wheels. But it’s worth noting the particular connection to a kinetic experiment by The Books’ Nick Zammuto from the film earlier this week. In fact, my one criticism of this piece …

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Listening: Paul Croker’s Sampled Vinyl MPC Collage, PublicSpacesLab

Photo (CC-BY) Hryck. / Todd. Barcelona-based, Los Angeles-edited PublicSpacesLab is an example of what a netlabel can be. Instead of just another dumping ground for sounds, it feels like a well-curated cafe, pairing regular but thoughtful releases with reflections on music making. Everything is Creative Commons-licensed, free music, from a variety of artists spanning geographies and genres. If you’re in the mood for reading, recent thought pieces from the editor cover a range of topics: Expansion, the lesser known dynamics tool (Amen, brother) The demise of an indie radio station in LA (with some harsh words for the town – …

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Turntable-Based, Kinetic Sound Sculptures and Instruments

Works For Turntable from Stephen Cornford on Vimeo. Digital sound, and electronic sound in general, can become abstract. In fact, sound itself can be abstract. So there’s something beautiful about rendering sound as something kinetic, mechanical, and physical. Watch the hypnotic works by Stephen Cornford, top; as the video progresses, the pieces deepen in subtlety. (Thanks to Richard Devine for spotting this one.) Cornford isn’t the only artist finding new sonic frontiers in the turntable. From a recent event in San Francisco sponsored by our friends at MAKE Magazine, artist Walter Kitundu talks about his own fascination with the turntable …

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As the Turntable Turns: Digital Vinyl Survives, Real Technics 1200 Dies (Or Not)

Rick Harrison. The legal wrangling over patents and who owns digital vinyl technology continues. The latest development: the court has dismissed N2IT’s claim against M-Audio, as covered by djtechtools. Before you strike this as a victory in the M-Audio column, it’s possible the parties settled out of court. Based on my limited legal background, I tend to agree with Ean Golden at djtechtools: this does seem to diminish the likelihood of N2IT successfully pursuing a new case against Serato. (In the Netherlands, it’s not possible to buy Serato, because there is would violate Dutch patent law, in the country in …

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A Gramophone that Plays the Earth Instead of Vinyl, and a Sonic iPhone Epidemic

Images courtesy Olle Cornéer. Used by permission. If you think culture has become too disconnected from the Earth, “Harvest” and the Terrafon instrument surely count as a shock to the system. A traditional ensemble picks up an enormous tone arm and transducer and, through back-breaking labor, drag it across arable fields. It’s part sound art and performance, part agriculture. But it certainly counts as a gramophone – it’s just a really big one that reads the grooves of the earth. Beat juggling with two of these I’m guessing is largely out of the question. One half of the artistic creative …

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Vinyl + Ableton: Ms. Pinky and Max for Live Working Now

Photo (CC) Brendan Dawes. It’s round, it’s mechanically-resistant, it’s tangible, it supports multi-touch and gestures. Yep – it’s the turntable, and outdoing it would mean reinventing the wheel, literally. And so it is that more than a few Ableton fans have wondered how they might work vinyl into their software axe of choice. Ableton and digital vinyl vendor Serato have announced they’re doing “something,” and then announced at the beginning of October that an announcement would be announced on January 14, 2010 at NAMM. Oh, and they said it will “unleash your creativity,” which sounds good. (It’s better than, say, …

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