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DJ Spooky

Author of Rhythm Science

15+ Works 278 Members 7 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Joi Ito

Works by DJ Spooky

Associated Works

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction From the African Diaspora (2000) — Contributor — 538 copies, 7 reviews
Moog (2005) — some editions — 5 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
DJ Spooky
Legal name
Miller, Paul D.
Other names
DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid
Washington, D.C., USA
Short biography
Paul Dennis Miller, known professionally as DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, is an American electronic and experimental hip hop musician whose work is often called by critics "illbient" or "trip hop". He is a turntablist, record producer, philosopher, and author. He borrowed his stage name from the character The Subliminal Kid in the novel Nova Express by William S. Burroughs. Having studied philosophy and French literature at Bowdoin College, he has become a professor of Music Mediated Art at the European Graduate School and is the executive editor of Origin magazine.



My life was too chaotic to read this at the time, but I hope to pick it up again at a later date. Cool included CD; wouldn't want to play it at a dance party, though.

(Found at DC Public-- Main just wandering the shelves)
deliriumshelves | 3 other reviews | Jan 14, 2024 |
The art of the mix creates a new language of creativity.
"Once you get into the flow of things, you're always haunted by the way that things could have turned out. This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift. The uncertainty is what holds the story together, and that's what I'm going to talk about."—Rhythm Science

The conceptual artist Paul Miller, also known as Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid, delivers a manifesto for rhythm science—the creation of art from the flow of patterns in sound and culture, "the changing same." Taking the Dj's mix as template, he describes how the artist, navigating the innumerable ways to arrange the mix of cultural ideas and objects that bombard us, uses technology and art to create something new and expressive and endlessly variable. Technology provides the method and model; information on the web, like the elements of a mix, doesn't stay in one place. And technology is the medium, bridging the artist's consciousness and the outside world.

Miller constructed his Dj Spooky persona ("spooky" from the eerie sounds of hip-hop, techno, ambient, and the other music that he plays) as a conceptual art project, but then came to see it as the opportunity for "coding a generative syntax for new languages of creativity." For example: "Start with the inspiration of George Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strip. Make a track invoking his absurd landscapes...What do tons and tons of air pressure moving in the atmosphere sound like? Make music that acts a metaphor for that kind of immersion or density." Or, for an online "remix" of two works by Marcel Duchamp: "I took a lot of his material written on music and flipped it into a DJ mix of his visual material—with him rhyming!" Tracing the genealogy of rhythm science, Miller cites sources and influences as varied as Ralph Waldo Emerson ("all minds quote"), Grandmaster Flash, W. E. B Dubois, James Joyce, and Eminem. "The story unfolds while the fragments coalesce," he writes.

Miller's textual provocations are designed for maximum visual and tactile seduction by the international studio COMA (Cornelia Blatter and Marcel Hermans). They sustain the book's motifs of recontextualizing and relayering, texts and images bleed through from page to page, creating what amount to 2.5 dimensional vectors. From its remarkable velvet flesh cover, to the die cut hole through the center of the book, which reveals the colored nub holding in place the included audio CD, Rhythm Science: Excerpts and Allegories from the Sub Rosa Archives, this pamphlet truly lives up to Editorial Director Peter Lunenfeld's claim that the Mediawork Pamphlets are "theoretical fetish objects...'zines for grown-ups."
(Mediaworks Pamphlets)
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petervanbeveren | 1 other review | Aug 31, 2022 |
I could of lived without some of the real heavy academic essays in this book. The history of electronic music, hip hop and sampling was great, I found it very interesting. Lots of artists and information that I had not read elsewhere.
zetetic23 | 3 other reviews | Aug 2, 2022 |
An anthology of articles on digital music and culture as well as a mix CD of 45 samples thereof. Put together by DJ Spooky, whose previous MIT publication, Rhythm Science, likewise paired book and music. The essays vary from overviews of specific areas (legal system in the age of sampling, network-based art ensembles) to reflections by musicians (Scanner on ghost images, Brian Eno on bells) to interviews (with Moby, Steve Reich and his wife/collaborator, Columbia Records's art director). The better writing makes the weaknesses in the lesser writing stand out, and the book could have used another strong edit pass (if we can't trust MIT to copyedit and to get the index right, whom can we?). The CD is excellent, with lots of spoken bits, from Gertrude Stein to William S. Burroughs, which makes an intelligent transition from the book; the CD isn't background music -- it is a text unto itself.

PS: I reviewed the book for Nature magazine. The web page says the full review requires payment to be read but in fact the full review appears on this page. The only thing behind the fee-wall is my author bio:


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Disquiet | 3 other reviews | Mar 30, 2013 |

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