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controltablism John type hardware hot cue sequencing serato

Controltablism — hot cue sequencing and scratching

We’re always looking for cool news ways to merge the old ways of DJing with all that is hot in the modern DJ age. And Italian DJ John Type‘s new demo of what he has dubbed “controltablism” is a perfect example.

In the above video, John is using the Korg Electribe ESX-1 as a hardware sequencer, and is triggering hot cues inside Serato DJ. It’s such a ridiculously simple idea that I’m amazed more people haven’t done this. Triggering hot cues with manually with controllers has been done for ever, but to hook up a hardware sequencer is something that I don’t recall seeing before.

This isn’t unlike the sample sequencing feature that comes with the new Roland DJ-808, but does offer more creative options, not least being able to scratch the playing track as well as triggering hot cues in between. It’s also worth pointing out that this has been done in software for a long time. DAWs like Ableton live have had step sequencers for a while now. Sequencing is definitely a buzzword right now.


When I think about this, there are new ways in which this offers DVS features it didn’t have before. You could simulate a loop by triggering the same hot cue every so many beats or bars. And if you got really clever with triggering cues to make a beat, scratching at the same time would emulate slip mode… well I guess a sort of slip loop anyway. And imagine hooking up four tracks and getting crazy with layering triggered hot cues. This is pretty exciting stuff.

The Korg ES-1 used in the video is offers more advanced features such as note repeat, but for less than £100, you could nab yourself a solid basic sequencer such as an Arturia BeatStep or a Korg SQ-1. And to be honest there’s probably a heap of hardware options new and old for sending MIDI notes into your DJ software of choice. Hell you can probably do it from your phone these days.

What I really like about this short demo is how John Type is using old school breakbeats with new school tech. I touch on this a little in my piece about Richie Hawtin’s MODEL 1 setup, and really feel that people should definitely experiment more with styles of music and hardware options.

Impressive work John. I’m off to track down a cheap hardware sequencer.