50 Miller

Algorithms: Erasures and the Art of Memory
Paul D. Miller

Paul Miller (b. 1970) is a young writer, musician, conceptual artist, and theorist of DJ culture. His stage name is DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid, with his moniker being drawn from William S. Burrough's cut-up novel Nova Express. His recordings are influenced by Ambient, dub, HipHop, drum 'n' bass, and even avant-garde music by the likes of Iannis Xenakis and Pauline Oliveros. His music has often been called "illbient," which is a portmanteau of the words "ill" (meaning good in slang) and "ambient." This style of music originated in the 1990's in Brooklyn, New York and is also called "trip hop." Miller has also worked with free jazz artists Matthew Shipp, William Parker, and Joe McPhee.

In this article, Miller gives a brief history of the beginning of "DJing" (which, in a way, started with Lionel Mapleson using a phonograph to record excerpts of his favorite operas and splice them together) and gives the basis of the genre (in his view) and what DJing is all about. He states, "I consider the mixes created by a DJ to be mood sculptures operating in a recombinant fashion." He also believes that the DJ creates a "fabric of sound" that mimics cyberspace, where "voices and visions" are continuously bumping into each other and cross-fertilizing. To be honest, I didn't really like this article - I thought it had no cohesive flow, which you would think Miller would offer, seeing as his work focuses on providing the listener with a continuous soundscape of uninterrupted "memories." He did provide some good insight into the art of DJing, though, when he states, In the electronic milieu that we all move in today, the DJ is a custodian of aural history. In the mix, creator and re-mixer are woven together in the syncretic space of the text of samples and other sonic material to create a seamless fabric of sound." In addition - just for good measure - Miller throws in a plug for social evolution by stating that "genocide, internecine ethnic strife and warfare, the complete destruction of the environment, and the creation of a permanent underclass that doesn't have access to technology" are the prospects of the future if people can't accept the new (and "explosive") abilities that technology has granted us. Quite an unnecessary public service announcement, if you ask me.

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