Beatie Wolfe's "intelligent" Raw Space album is a deck of NFC cards
Beatie Wolfe Raw Space

Beatie Wolfe's "intelligent" Raw Space album features songs embedded in business cards

Musician Beatie Wolfe has collaborated with eight graphic designers to create an album of cards that listeners tap against a smartphone to play.

Each card in the eight-track "album deck" is embedded with a near-field communication (NFC) chip that allows listeners to access a song, using technology similar to that used by contactless payment devices.

Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space "intelligent" album reveals itself as a deck of cards

Erik Spiekermann, Marian Bantjes, Astrid Stavro, Lucienne Roberts, Rafael Prieto, Sean Adams, Yuma Naito and design studio Atlas were tasked with creating graphics for each card based on their visual response to an assigned song.

Scanning one of the business-card-sized boards using a NFC-reader app reveals an individual page for the track, which is complete with lyrics, the music video, photos, song notes and information about the card itself.

The content on each card is updated periodically to give the "intelligent" album – called Raw Space – a "living" or "dynamic" quality.

The Los Angeles-based musician wanted to "reimagine the vinyl experience for the digital age" by adding a tangible element to the listening experience.

Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space "intelligent" album reveals itself as a deck of cards

"I fell in love with albums as a kid and saw opening up a physical record as a tangible gateway into the world of the album," Wolfe told Dezeen.

"I like that it brings back the tangibility, the story, the artwork and a sense of ceremony to the experience of listening to a record," she explained.

"But at the same time it presents a new way to experience music, so that it feels different and magical. In this sense, it encourages you to go deep and sit down with an album as an art form again," she continued.

Wolfe worked together with the eight international designers to make unique graphics for each of the eight cards based on a black and gold foil colour-scheme – a reference to a gold Mylar-wrapped space chamber installation she created for the Victoria and Albert Museum last year.

Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space "intelligent" album reveals itself as a deck of cards

"With the gold Mylar being a key feature, the idea was then to have each song card freely designed by eight leading international designers to reflect their own visual response to the music," said Wolfe. "I didn't want to lead this aspect but have it be their own interpretation."

According to the musician, it is the first time gold foil has been incorporated into a NFC card.

Many designers are embarking on projects exploring the relationship between music and technology. Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design graduate Liron Gino designed a set of jewellery-like devices that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing people to experience music through vibration.

Elsewhere, musician Imogen Heap developed a pair of Mi.Mu gesture-control gloves.