25 years of spinning discs should be enough for most people but many still think all aspects of djing should be done from a turntable. While we respectfully disagree, these smart folks from the university of Ulm have created a software program that allows you to search through your songs visually using time coded vinyl and projections on the turntable.
Timbap has been developed using the marvellous MsPinky SDK. This means it supports two types of vinyl:
- the MsPinky vinyl itself
- Torq vinyl
The flexible component architecture of timbap allows input from other sources as well. In cooperation with open source projects like xwax, timbap might also be available for Serato, FinalScratch and MixVibes later on.
What role this system may play in the future of djing is hazy, and just exactly how everything works is still in the very early stages. That being said, the theoretical concepts and assumptions made by the project are interesting. Take for instance, the idea of remembering a song by its album cover art:
The power of the method becomes apparent when we have a look at the second picture. Here we do not use textual information, but compute the predominant color hue in the attached artwork and sort the collection respectively. Sorting colors to a one-dimensional order is not as trivial as sorting alphabetically. We chose to use the hue (which is related to the electromagnetic wave frequency) and to sort all the artworks which are lacking colorfulness to the end. In the example shown we took a collection containing all releases of the netlabel Thinner.
Whenever a DJ cannot recall the artist or any other name, but knows the artwork was mainly orange for example, he might find the record. Of course, there’s a need for a good switching mechanism between all those visual cues, so you have all of them at your fingertips. Later this week, I will continue with how we realized that requirement.
So how exactly are you supposed to project images onto a turntable. The Tinbap webpage points out this remarkable development in hand-held projection technology. Amazing.