By Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky
“To speak truly, few adult persons can see Nature.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
It’s been said that wilderness holds answers to questions we have not yet learned to ask. Here’s a question: How would you make a composition out of a forest? Would you have instruments made from wood? Well, that’s already been done for hundreds of years—every single instrument that influences our modern sensibility comes from wood or metal. But what about the information that forests generate? That’s what I thought about when I began work on a symphony about forests.
It’s been decades since Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer coined the term “soundscape” but for me, a 21st century update is the term “acoustic environment.” It’s an idea that informs my work, and that give me inspiration for a project that, at core,is as much about the collision between code and culture, as it is about the massive disruption of the ecosystem.
My new album with the legendary Kronos Quartet is out now! I hope you can check it out!
Listen to the album and stream it – FREE with the Wall Street Journal.
DJ Spooky and Kronos Quartet Put a New Spin on ‘Birth of a Nation’
For Heart of a Forest I wanted to explore how to remix some of the ways we think about traditional forms of music versus digital interpretation of nature. Is a landscape a portrait? Is a composition a portrait? These are questions left lingering over the entire project. Thoreau once went to the forests of New England to write his seminal works. He wrote of the experience “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I think that we need music to catalyze how we can rethink our relationship to Nature, and I am inspired by Thoreau and the collision of data, sound, and new ways to think of the absence of “origins” – no one owns the forest and the sounds that it inspires. It’s all a mirror of what is possible in our hyper interconnected world. Like the roots of the trees underneath the forest. It is all connected, and we all contribute to the elements that make it evolve. All is connected.
The Album and DVD by DJ Spooky
on Thirsty Ear
SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE THURSTON MOORE OF SONIC YOUTH, THE JUNGLE BROTHERS, SUSSAN DEYHIM, THE COUP, ROB SWIFT (THE XECUTIONERS), SPOKEN WORD EMCEE MIKE LADD, AND MANY OTHERS
The Secret Song– isnʼt really an album: itʼs a manifesto about the place of history in our modern collaged, scrambled, sampla-delic to the core, mega info overloaded digital culture. With references stretching from Thorstein Veblenʼs “Theory of the Leisure Class” and John Maynard Keynes classic in the ﬁeld of economics “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” over to hip hopʼs relationship to psychoanalysis and a la Edward Bernayʼs concept of the “manufacture of consent” – DJ Spookyʼs new album is a groundbreaking meditation on hip hop and electronic musics relationship to philosophy, economics,
//LISTEN TO THE ALBUM ON
AOL MUSIC (SPINNER)and the science of sound in a world where the steady drumbeat of the ﬁnancial meltdown has made music the last refuge of young people with less and less time and money. DJ Spookyʼs peer group of artists like DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, RJD2, DJ Logic, Amon Tobin, and Coldcut have all played with the idea of concept albums. With “The Secret Song” DJ Spooky looks to bands like Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead for inspiration. As DJ Spooky likes to say “people – it’s ALL about economics.” Dig?
By Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky
Inspired by the everyday stories of the last remaining survivors of the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky has created Peace Symphony: 8 Stories.
The idea behind this work came from Miller’s personal interaction with eight Hibakusha (被爆者 Atomic bomb survivors) on Peace Boat’s 83rd Global Voyage (Peace Boat is an international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment) where Miller recently served as a guest educator and artist-in-residence.
DJ Spooky has contributed music and narrated the new App from The Smithsonian Museum traveling retrospective of Romare Bearden for iOS and Android operating systems.