The Louvre Abu Dhabi has delivered yet another niche artistic showcase with the Turntable Symphonograph Orchestra. This Japanese ensemble performs classical music with a twist - they are essentially a DJ-based orchestra!
The band uses turntables to recreate classical orchestral pieces in an electronic format. Hard to imagine? Yes. It's an act that must be experienced to truly appreciate its euphony and musical consonance.
We spoke with producer Adam Hardy and band member Lobito to talk us through the inception and philosophy of the supergroup that comprises of world-renowned DJ’s and turntablists.
How would you describe the groups performance?
LOBITO: The Turntable Symphonograph Orchestra presents a fusion of original compositions, re-inventions of classical standards all performed and deconstructed by a full orchestra of turntables. Each member plays their individual instrument parts in unison. We have a flexibility musically that a traditional orchestra might not as we can incorporate any electronic sound and deconstruct existing pieces as well as modernise it for the new generation.
How did you select this particular group of DJ's?
LOBITO: We chose the best who were available for the show dates. Many of them are long time friends or close friends of friends and our team consisted of mostly world dj champions as well as pioneers and legends of turntable music.
What inspired this combination of classical music with electronic music equipment?
LOBITO: It's been my dream since I was little listening to my mother's classical vinyl and playing it backwards on the turntable. I was always fascinated so when finally the right opportunity came it was a chance to realise a wider musical vision and show how DJs can be musicians and the Turntable is a genuine and flexible musical instrument
How culturally-diverse has the UAE music scene become?
LOBITO: I've seen it grow for over a decade and tried to contribute as much as I can. As the country has developed culturally so more opportunities have presented themselves to showcase sounds and projects that you wouldn't find on commercial radio and present music with more musical depth, it's growing steadily.
What would you say to young musicians about turntabling as an art form?
LOBITO: These days everyone seems to be a DJ but much like cooking there's a difference between making pasta at home and becoming a Michelin star chef. Turntablism is a set of techniques that won't make a bad DJ good but will make a great DJ better. It's all about learning more about music, developing your skills and being original in order to differentiate yourself in an oversaturated market.
About the Writer
Faariss Khalil is a British musician who currently lives in Dubai. As a former turntablist from Bristol his experience of growing up in a thriving music scene has fuelled his passion to uncover new music in the UAE.