DJ Spooky  

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DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid (born Paul D. Miller, 1970), is a Washington DC-born electronic and experimental hip hop musician whose work is often called 'illbient' or 'trip hop'. He is a turntablist, producer and major in philosophy and French literature. 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 Kool Keith and other cult figures in indie rock.

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 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.

In 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.

In 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.



  • Drums of Death DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo (Thirsty Ear) [April 2005]
  • Optometry (Thirsty Ear) [July 2002] THI 57121.2
  • Modern Mantra (Shadow/Instinct) (DJ mix record) [May 2002] SDW 135-2
  • Under the Influence (Six Degrees) (DJ mix record) [September 2001] PRCD 1056-2
  • Riddim Warfare (Outpost-Geffen) [September 1998]
  • Haunted Breaks Volumes I and II (Liquid Sky Music) [October & December 1998]
  • Synthetic Fury EP (Asphodel Records 0110) [February 1998]
  • Songs of a Dead Dreamer (Asphodel Records 0961) [April 1996]
  • Necropolis (Knitting Factory Works KFW 185) [March 1996]

Singles and EPs

  • Optometrix 12” (Thirsty Ear) [June 2003] THI 57132.1
  • Catechism featuring Killah Priest (Synchronic) [August 2002] SYC 002
  • Subliminal Minded EP-Peace in Zaire Remixes (Bar None Records) [October 1999]
  • Peace in Zaire (with remixes by Ambassador Jr., and The Dub Pistols) promotional/White Label Only (Outpost/Geffen) [April 1999]
  • Object Unknown (with remixes by DJ Spooky and Kut Masta Kurt) (Outpost/Geffen CD; Asphodel vinyl) [August 1998]
  • Galactic Funk (Asphodel 101) [1996]

Paul D. Miller and miscellaneous albums

  • ftp>snd>untitled> Nest Magazine CD, accompanying November 2001 issue
  • Another Forensic Charade, accompanying catalogue to exhibition at Magasin 3, Stockholm, Sweden, September – December 2001 (limited edition)
  • The Viral Sonata Asphodel Records. Originally accompanied installation for The Whitney Biennial 1997.
  • Death in Light of the Phonograph: Excursions into the Pre-linguistic Asphodel Records [September 1996] (limited edition) Originally accompanied installation at Annina Nosei Gallery.

Collaborative releases and mix records

  • DJ Spooky presents Riddim Come Forward: 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records: a 2CD label mix for Trojan Records, UK release [October 2006]
  • DJ Spooky presents In Fine Style: 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records: a 2CD label mix for Trojan Records [June 2006]
  • Celestial Mechanix: a label mix for Thirsty Ear Records [June 2004]
  • Riddim Clash with Twilight Circus (PLAY Label) April 2004
  • Rhythm Science Audio Companion - C-Side: companion to Rhythm Science book [2003]
  • Dubtometry fearturing Mad Professor, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and others - a remix of “Optometry (Thirsty Ear) [March 2003] THI 57128.2
  • Catechism (DJ Spooky w/Killah Priest) (Blue Juice Records/UK) BJ007 [6/26/01]
  • Anodyne (Main, core and Peripheral mixes) Picture disk w/Sound Secretion (BSI Records) Cat. BSI 014-1[10/00]
  • The Quick and the Dead DJ Spooky and Scanner (Sulphur Records) Meld series [1/31/00] Cat No. MELCD001 (UK) BBWULCD004 (US)
  • DJ Spooky vs. The Freight Elevator Quartet: File Under Futurism (Caipirinha Records) [September 1999]
  • 10” DJ Spooky and Merzbow (Manifold Records) [2000]
  • 10” DJ Spooky and Quoit (Manifold Records) [2000]
  • 10” DJ Spooky and Arto Lindsay (Manifold Records) [July 1999]
  • Kaotik : Transgression DJ Spooky and Totemplow (Manifold Records) [June 1999]
  • 10” DJ Spooky and Alan Licht (Manifold Records) [1998]
  • Template 12” DJ Spooky and Totemplow (Manifold Records) [1998]

Film scores

  • Quattro Noza (Fountainhead Films) Sundance competition finalist (2003)
  • SLAM (Offline/Tri-Mark) Grand Prize winner, Sundance (1998); Cannes, Camera D'Or (1998) October 1998 commercial release.

Multimedia, web and misc. projects

  • Marcel Duchamp remix, LA Museum of Contemp. Art (2002)
  • Stuzzicadenti DJ Spooky and Diego Cortez [May 2000]


  • Sub Rosa Revisited, a catalog mix. Sub Rosa SR 201 [Nov. 2003]
  • Meat Beat Manifesto - "Storm The Studio R.M.X.S." Tino Corp. [Sept. 2003]
  • Merzbow – Ikebana Merzbow Important Records [2003]
  • "Rock the Nation" (DJ Spooky sound Unbound instrumental remix) with Michael Franti and Spearhead (Six Degrees Records) [2001]
  • Kahimi Karie Tilt Polydor KK Records (Japan) [2000]
  • Hydroponic Sound System Routine Insanity/Evolution Records [Sept. 2000]
  • Show Lee Netsu: Electro: snd>>cd: zero sum mix BMG Funhouse (Japan) BVCR-11015 [Oct. 1999]
  • Cibo Matto – "Swords and Paintbrush" Warner Bros. [TBA 1999]
  • Steve Reich – "City Life" Coalition/None Such Recordings [March 1999]
  • KoЯn – "Got the Life" Immortal/Epic [November 1998] (Limited Edition)
  • Skeleton Key – "Wide Open" (DJ Spooky's Full Spectrum Mix) Capitol Records
  • Nick Cave – "Red Right Hand" for Scream 2 soundtrack Capitol Records 12/97
  • Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls "The Irony Of It All" 4:41 for Spawn Soundtrack, Immortal/Epic Records, New Line Cinema; 8/97 EK68494
  • Arto Lindsay – "Mundo Civilizado Inversion Mix" 7:28, Gramavision 6/97 GLP 79519
  • Bally Sagoo – Tum Bin Jiya "Isomorphic Flux Mix" 6:47 Higher Ground/Sony
  • The Swirlies – "In Harmony: DJ Spooky's Retrograde Transposition Mix" (6:15) Taang! Records
  • Free Kitten – Jam #1 "Spatialized Chinatown Express Mix" (6:24), Kill Rock Stars 11/97. KRS 286
  • Earth Crooked Axis for String Quartet "Kool Stereo Arc" Dub Mix (8:42)
  • Hovercraft Stereo Specific Polymerization "Mad Psychotic Hyper-Accelerated Lower East Side Mix" (5:57)
  • Walter Ruttman's Weekend for Engaged Magazine Vol. 6, London, UK
  • James Plotkin Sawtooth Swirl "DJ Spooky's Irreducible Gated Momentum Dub Mix" (9:40) [1997] (Rawkus ptv 1136-2)
  • Ben Neill – "Sistrum into Grapheme" Astralwerks
  • Ben Neill – "Pentagram: La Mer Mix and Undertow Mix" (Verve Antilles) 1996
  • DJ Krush – "Ryuki" (Lulu's Peace Mix) TVT Records
  • Spookey Ruben – "Incedental Drift Mix" TVT Records
  • Hooverphonic – "2Wicky" Epic
  • Sublime – "Doin' Time" (Life Sentence Remix) 5:43 MCA Records; 9/97
  • Yoko Ono – "Rising" on "Yes, I'm a Witch" Astralwerks 2006

Tracks on compilations, soundtracks and miscellaneous releases

  • "Strictly Turtableyzed Hmm.." on Hi-Fidelity Dub Sessions (Guidance Recordings) [2004]
  • "That Subliminal Kid vs. The Last Mohican" on Thirsty Ear Presents The Blue Series Sampler (The Shape of Jazz to Come) (Thirsty Ear) [2003]
  • "Catechism" (instrumental) (Blue Juice Records/UK) BJCD013 [Sept. 2002]
  • "FTP>Bundle / Conduit 23" on VA: An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music (Sub Rosa/SR 190) April 2002 8:07
  • "If/When" on Scissors (Play label/Japan; Play 002) 6/01
  • "Another Forensic Charade" on Electric Ladyland - Clickhop Version 1.0 Mille Plateaux Records 2001
  • "Rapper’s Relight" on one:it’s all good, man Saul Goodman records 2/01
  • "Reciprocal Presupposition and Dance of the Morlocks" on '"Condo Painting'" soundtrack Gallery Six Records, 4/00
  • "Conduit 23" for “Wreck This Mess Remission 2” Noise Museum
  • "Turn Table Eyzd, UMM" for Hi-Fidelity Dub Chapter II Guidance Recordings GDRC-575) 1/00
  • "Interlude" DJ Spooky and Vinicius Cantuaria for Onda Sonora (Red Hot and Lisbon)
  • "Stereo Specific Polymerization" (Beneath the Underdog Mix) (Word Sound Records) 10" [1998]
  • "Reciprocal Presupposition; Seuqigolana" (Suntropic Inversion Mix) for The End of Utopia (Sub Rosa/SR132) [1998]
  • "Haunted: Ill Konceptual Mix" for Kunsthaus, Zurich
  • "Soon Forward, Synaptic Dissonance" for Asphodelic (Asphodel) [1999]
  • "Polymorphia 2000: Ill Konceptual Mix" for Kunsthalle, Vienna
  • "Solar Physics" DJ Spooky and Sir Menelik for Rawkus Records
  • "He Who Leaves No Trace" for Invisible Soundtracks (Leaf Records)
  • "Reconstruction and The 6th Degree" [1998] on Electric Ladyland 5 (Mille Plateau 48)
  • Discord w/ Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Torn and orchestra. Live in Japan. [1997] (Güt/For Life FLCG 3028)
  • Iannis Xenakis: Kraanerg (w STX Ensemble) [1997] (Asphodel 0975)
  • Iannis Xenakis: Analogiques A + B on Ianissimo! (w/STX Ensemble) [1997] (Vandenburg Wave VAN 0003)
  • The Western Lands (A Dangerous Road Mix) w/ William Burroughs, Bill Laswell, etc. on Material; Seven Souls [1997] (Triloka/Mercury 314 534 905)
  • "Island Of Lost Souls" on The Freestyle Files [1997] Studio K7 (Germany)
  • "Soon Forward, Anansi's Gambit" (DJ Spooky's On the Island of the Lost Souls Mix), and "Why Patterns" on Incursions in Illbient [1997] (Asphodel 0968)
  • "Zero Gravity Dub" on Synthetic Pleasures Vol. 2 Caipirinha Productions [1997]
  • "Black Djinn Trance" (w/Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble) on War Smash Hits [1996] (Sub Rosa Records SR 105)
  • "Primary Inversion" on This is Home Entertainment 2 [1996] (Liquid Sky Music/Jungle Sky Records HE 008)
  • "The Terran Invasion of Alpha Centauri Year 2794" on Dub Terror Exhaust with Bill Laswell [1996] (Subharmonic Records)
  • "Machinic Phylum" (Crippled Symmetries Mix) on Future Audio [1996] (Freeze Records)
  • "The Nasty Data Burst" & "Journey" (Paraspace Mix) on Valis: The Destruction of Syntax (Subharmonic Records)
  • In Visual Ocean on Gilles Deleuze: In Memoriam (Mille Plateaux Records)
  • Collaboration with Amiri Baraka on Black Dada Nihilismus on Offbeat: A Red Hot Sound Trip [1996] Red Hot/Whitney Museum/Wax Trax-TVT compilation released in conjunction with The Whitney Museum's "The Beats: A Retrospective" installation.
  • "Temporally Displaced" , also on Offbeat
  • "Step In Stand Clear" on Storm of Drones (Sombient)
  • "Vorticities" on State Of the Union [1996] (Atatvistic Records)
  • "Muzique Mecanique Dub" and "Muzique Psychotique" on Electric Ladyland Vol. 3 (Force X Records).
  • "Fourth Inversion" on The Resonance Found at the Core of the Bubble [1996] (Bubble Core Records)
  • "Surface Noise" (Theme of the Hungry Ghost), Sonic Soul Records 001 [1996]
  • "Prologue (The Duchamp Effect)" on Mind The Gap 15 Gozno Circus GC021 [1997]
  • "Object Unknown", "Pandemonium", and "Degree Zero Launch" CD-ROM (The Product) [TBA 1998]
  • "Hologrammic Dub" on The Night Shift [1996] (C&S Records)
  • "Galactic Funk" on This is Home Entertainment (Home Entertainment Records/Liquid Sky Music)

Sideman Appearances

Similar artists

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