Since 1978, the Technics SL-1200MK2 was the direct-driven platter du jour of DJ’s and venues the world over. Many callouses were born from hours of minute pitch control adjustments. The SL-1200 was once described by music journalists as “the most important musical instrument of the last two and a half decades”. Yet, despite this iconic status, on the 1st November, 2010, Panasonic announced that it had “ceased the production of its Technics-branded analogue turntables”.
So right now, we’re loaded up with Pioneer CDJ’s, CMX’s, DVJ’s, SVX’s and any other acronyms they feel like inventing. We’ve got live looping, built-in effects, flip-flops, 4 beat auto intros, hot cueing and flux capacitor recalibration (1.21 Gigawatt plugin required).
So…where to from here? What electronic flights of fancy does the digital world hold for us.
Perhaps a virtual DJ setup straight out of ‘Minority Report’…
Smithson-Martin’s Emulator DVS is a multi-touch MIDI control system that sits on a 46” monitor and runs in conjunction with a projector and an infrared sensor-driven screen grid. The interface can be programmed to whatever combination of modules you need, even down to running lighting rigs and audio creators like Cubase.
It’ll also run a whole swag of DJ applications like Traktor Pro 2.0, Virtual DJ, Serato, Ableton and ProDJ.
Not quite portable enough? What about a mixer that creates it’s own Wi-Fi hotspot and allows you to connect up to four devices wirelessly. Welcome to the Pioneer XDJ-AERO.
Designed to run in conjunction with the Rekordbox application, this unit will allow you to wirelessly stream music from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, plus it’s got the usual bells and whistles (cue-point triggers, FX, filters, etc), expected from a unit that hit the market only weeks ago.
Or perhaps you’d prefer something a little more esoteric.
No that wasn’t two guys playing holographic Yu-Gi-Oh to a minimalist electro track, it was ‘Reactable’, by Ministry of Senses, a backlit display table that interacts with blocks called ‘tangibles’ to create incredible synthesized effects. Each one of these ‘tangibles’ can be programmed to represent different modules of an analog synth, and are surrounded by various animated symbols, such as waveforms, circles, circular grids, or sweeping lines which can then be controlled by fingertips.
The tangibles have what are called ‘Fiducials’ on the reverse side (is your head spinning yet?), which are printed black and white images interpreted by the digital video camera under the table. When the tangibles are moved on the table, the information is then interpreted by the camera and relayed to a synthesizer to create the sounds.
Here’s one in action…
So, there’s a brief glimpse into the future (and present), of what we might see in club venues not far from now. Having said that, and given the exponential rate our technology is advancing, this might all seem positively archaic before we know it. Who knows what lies in stores…