Kjetil comes from the KTH Computer Science and Communication where he is a PhD researcher. He burns for scratching and loves the sound but after practicing for an hour he decided that he was no longer interested in learning to scratch. His interests are in scratch analysis and interface design. He shows us a fascinating video of his own practice which centres on the designing interfaces for new scratch style music.
Kjetil outlined the mix of old and new technology that makes up turntablism. He claims that hip-hop has demanded a new form of instrument that is now concerned not just with rhythm but also melody. On the topic of the turntable metaphor, differing from Taku he does not believe in the rotating disc metaphor for media playback. He believes that scratching has reached a turning point in popularity after its high in the 90s.
The 4th session on turntable music started with Taku himself talking about the history of turntablism and his own work.
Taku explained his talk was based on his 2006 paper on this topic, he started by attempting to define turntablism; “a musical practice of using the turntable as a instrument for the skillful playback of media”. Next the history was covered, the emphasis on virtuosity and the strong community. He covered the history of the technology as well, from early recording devices to modern turntables aimed specifically at this type of performance. Not only do we now have these specialized hi-tech turntables, there is also a large range of digital playback devices that are inspired by the possibilities of turntables or tries to emulate them, for example for the playback of CD’s or the controlling of computers.
What is Turntable Music ?
Taku gives an insteresting definitions of turntable music, narrowly he defines it as a practice that focuses on the use of a turntable and mixer as an instrument. More broadly Taku defines turntable music as anything that focuses on the instrumental use of media playback through a circular rotating interface. After an interesting look at the history of physical media recording and playback. Starting with the Phonoautograph in 1857 Taku takes us through the details and capabilities of turntable technology right up to the ubiquitous Technics direct drive turntables that arrived in 1970. The ubiquity of the mighty Technics deck is due to the high torque generated by its direct drive platter, this allowed DJs greater capability.Having dispensed with some of the technological aspects of turntablism Taku focuses on social history of recorded music playback and how from the early ‘Home phonograph concerts’ of the 1920s DJ culture emerged over 70 years.