The DJ usually keeps the party going, but now turntablists are taking their talents to the orchestra. To celebrate Japan’s LP Record Day, hi-fi audio brand Technics gathered 30 world-class DJs together to form The Philharmonic Turntable Orchestra, the first orchestra composed of only turntables, in order to remix one of the most important records in music history.
The consortium of record manipulators scratched, spliced, and remixed violinist Nathan Milstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor, which was the first 12″ LP ever issued, back in 1948. All of the DJ’s transmogrified the 70-year-old record into modern magic using mixers, and the Technics SL-1200 series turntable, Technic’s legendary analog player line the company discontinued in 2010. To the delight of the DJ community, Technics revived the iconic brand in 2016 with the limited-edition SL-1200GAE and SL-1200G turntables.
The Philharmonic Turntable Orchestra is like the Avengers of the turntable world, bringing together numerous Disco Mix Club (DMC) World and U.S. DJ champions from the past 20-plus years. The 2017 DMC World DJ champion — DJ Rena — became the youngest to win the award at the age of 12, and is joined by fellow DMC champions DJ Switch, DJ Swamp, DJ Kentaro, and DJ QBert, among a decorated list of others.
March 20 marks the 67th anniversary of the LP format being released commercially in Japan, and this year could mark a resurgence of the LP in the Asian country. Last year, Sony Music announced it would begin pressing vinyl records again in Japan starting in spring 2018. According to Sony, new technology has ironically helped lead to the revival of the formerly outdated model. “Some people are buying vinyl records after first hearing songs on streaming services. If they love the music, they want to own it in a tangible, analog format,”Aiichiro Furukawa, a corporate senior vice president at Sony Music, said in a 2017 interview surrounding Sony’s announcement.
This isn’t just Sony tugging on people’s nostalgic heart strings, as vinyl sales have increased every year since 2005. In 2015, vinyl sales generated more revenue for the music industry than all ad-supported streaming. Now, vinyl is the center of an entire orchestra.
You can check out behind-the-scenes footage of The Philharmonic Turntable Orchestra working on music at Technic’s dedicated website for the orchestra and in the video above.