DJ Spooky

Last night I went to see <a href=http://www.djspooky.com/index2.html>Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid</a> at the <a href=http://www.blackcatdc.com/>Black Cat</a> in DC. Oh yeah.

He is on a short tour supporting his <a href=http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/d/dj-spooky/optometry.shtml>Optometry</a> project (<a href=http://fluke.student.utwente.nl/chilledbeats/show_album.php?album_id=1488>also</a>, <a href=http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/d/djspooky-optometry.shtml>also</a>, <a href=http://www.theonionavclub.com/reviews/music/music_d/djspooky02.html title=the onion>also</a>, <a href=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000069B12/qid=1042728339/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/102-0133524-5768152?v=glance&s=music&n=507846>amazon</a>), which is a concept of samples-as-jazz with some major jazz player as collaborators. He’s on tour with a live drummer, Mike Clark, who is just amazing (and you know I know, having played now for 17 years).

This the kind of experimentation with electronic music that I have had in my head for a long time. He also used video well. What I have in mind is a little more straightforward, but to see him up there spinning three records at once and playing different video off his iBook was truly inspiring. I’m ready to go get some turntables right now. :)

Being the highly experimental music that it is, I would have really liked some discussion of it either during or afterward. This isn’t radio music, or even dancehall music. It is intellectual music, and deserves to be discussed and understood. I think he asked too much of his audience last night; out of 2.5 hours of music, there was maybe 5 whole minutes with a consistent beat you could dance to; and often there were layers of polyrhythm going on, with one rhythm from a record, another from scratching, and another from the drumkit. I’m a fairly well trained drummer, and I can handle polyrhythms, but this often become too much for even me.

<img src=http://www.duke.edu/web/isis/paris.jpg align=right>Still DJ Spooky is an important artist for what he is doing as an artistic person, not just for what kind of electronic music he creates. Check him out <a href=http://www.djspooky.com/photos/PaulLawrenceLes.html>here, with Lessig</a>; check out <a href=http://www.21cmagazine.com/home.html>his magazine</a>; he’s <a href=http://www.egs.edu/faculty/djspooky.html>on the faculty at EGS</a>.