Video: The world’s first interactive album cover lets you spin music

Novalia worked with DJ Qbert to create the world’s first interactive DJ Decks in an album cover.

Scratching, sometimes referred to as scrubbing, is a DJ technique used to produce distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back-and-forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a sound mixer. Though scratching is most commonly associated with hip-hop, since the mid-’70s, it has been used in pop, electronic dance and other mainstream music. And while we’ve seen some extremely innovative musical Maker marvels in recent months, ranging from an Arduino turntable to MIDI gloves to conductive ink tunes, the latest collaboration between Novalia and DJ Qbert truly possesses the magic touch.


Previously funded on Kickstarter, Qbert’s recent album features a set of working Bluetooth MIDI decks and controls that connect to iOs and OSx. Touching the paper connects to the Algoriddim DJAY app, enabling the user to scratch, mix and fade any songs they load into the software.
Complete with two decks, a cross fader and an array of SFX buttons beautifully printed onto paper using printed electronics and specially-designed artwork, the decks exhibit the possibilities for interconnectivity between the physical and digital in a way that can enhance user experience.

“We believe the future will look more like the past than the present, where beautiful old school things we love and are nostalgic about will not die as many have said. We hope to breathe life into things like books and album covers, keeping the creativity in physical products alive. We work at the interface of the digital and physical, taking the essence of the digital world and putting that digital DNA into beautiful physical objects which have intuitive touch, connectivity and data beneath the surface and are manufactured by processes such as regular print,” explains Novalia’s Dr. Kate Stone.

Watch it in action below! Meanwhile, you can read more about the printed MIDI deck project here.

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