Play The Record Cover As You Listen To Your Vinyl

Music lovers can create loops and tunes as they listen to DJ QBert’s album Extraterrestria

Remember the golden days of album art? Album art was a medium perfected during the days when big vinyl LPs were the delivery method of choice for recorded music. Because they were large, covers could accommodate complex designs and artwork that often complimented the music. It’s one of the things older audiophiles lament despite the arguable improvements in the sound quality and delivery methods of music in this century.

Novalia, a technology startup from Cambridge, has expanded their conductive ink project with a nod to vinyl lovers young and old via a partnership with DJ QBert for his album Extraterrestria.

As we reported before, Novalia uses conductive ink to create interactive printed work like a drum poster that plays a percussion sound when tapped. The ink responds to touch, interrupting a circuit that connects to a sound system in this case. The same technology could easily be applied to owners’ manuals, textbooks, menus or dozens of other print mediums that could benefit from improved interactivity.

Their current work with DJ QBert opts for form over function, yet still yields interesting results. Upon opening the album, you can touch various parts of the slipcover to activate individual sounds and compose your own song. Choose from a continuing loop of sounds for the backbeat, and punctuate it with flourishes to create the melody.


DJ QBert has made a career of breaking ground both in terms of the music he records and of the technology he embraces. He prefers the direct-to-consumer sales model made available by 20th century distribution, and the album Extraterrestria bills itself as having sounds both from Earth and from outer space.

Due to space concerns, the interactive cover is available only for vinyl release. Lamentably, CD and MP3 buyers have to settle for regular ink or paperless versions.

Thanks to Jason Brick of the PFSK Website for this story, be sure to click on this link where you can watch a demonstration, find it here



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