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Saturday, December 16, 2006

DJ Spooky - Subliminal Kid

Djspooky004DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid is a Washington DC-born electronic and experimental hip hop musician whose work is often called 'illbient' or 'trip hop'. He is a turntablist and producer. He borrowed his stage name from a character in a William S. Burroughs novel.

Growing up in DC, Spooky became interested in punk and go-go music, and attended Bowdoin College in Maine, earning degrees in French literature and philosophy. He began writing science fiction and formed a collective called Soundlab with several other artists.

In the mid-1990s, Spooky began recording a series of singles and EPs. His debut LP, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, is now widely regarded as a formative influence on illbient. Riddim Warfare (see 1998 in music) was an underground hit that include collaborations with Dr. Octagon and other cult figures in indie rock.Djspooky001

He then worked with several other artists on various collaborations and mix CDs, returning in 2002 with Modern Mantra (see 2002 in music). That same year saw the release of Optometry, a widely acclaimed collaboration with avant-jazz players Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Guillermo E. Brown and Joe McPhee. (This album also features portions of a breaks record by Billy Martin of Medeski Martin & Wood.)


DJ Spooky on the cover of The Wire, 1995DJ Spooky also composed the score for the 1998 film SLAM, featuring poet/actor Saul Williams in the lead role. The film went on to win both the Cannes Camera D'Or and the Sundance Festival Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.

Djspooky002In 2004 DJ Spooky released a book, Rhythm Science published by MIT Press. The same year saw the launch of his film/music/multimedia performance piece "DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation". A live audio/video re-mix of D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation which includes footage from choreographer Bill T. Jones and a score newly composed by DJ Spooky, "Rebirth of a Nation" was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival, The Festival d'Automne a Paris, The Spoleto Festival USA, and the Vienna Festival. DJ Spooky continues to tour the world performing this work.

2005 sees the release of "Drums of Death", DJ Spooky's CD based on sessions he recorded with Dave Lombardo of Slayer. Other guest artists include Chuck D. of Public Enemy and Vernon Reid of Living Colour. The record was co-produced by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto.

Djspooky003In 2006 DJ Spooky produced two extensive compilations of classic Jamaican music from the archives of Trojan Records, the 40 year old Jamaican record label founded by Chris Blackwell and Lee Gopthal. The U.S. release, In Fine Style: DJ Spooky Presents 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records focused on "selections" from the archive, while the UK and worldwide release, Riddim Come Forward was a continuous mix. The compilation features a roster of Jamaica's most renowned artists and producers like Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, U-Roy, King Tubby and Prince Jammy.

DJ Spooky is also a professor of music mediated art at the European Graduate School where he co-teaches (with Michael Schmidt) Intensive Summer Seminars in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Live at the Cargo London 2006 DJ Spooky -  Subliminal Kid

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