With multimedia, everything blurs. Software takes the concept of the imagination and makes it something you can edit, tweak, and transform with digital techniques. Everything becomes an edited file.— DJ Spooky
The most vibrant DJ Spooky quotes that are little-known but priceless
Most people walk around with headphones on.
They're barely encountering or dealing with their fellow person, or if they're in a car they're in this kind of cocoon, stuck in suburban rush hour traffic or something.
Sampling is a new way of doing something that’s been with us for a long time […] The mix breaks free from the old associations. New contexts form from old. The script gets flipped. The languages evolve and learn to speak in new forms, new thoughts. The sound of thought becomes legible again at the edge of the new meanings.
The easiest thing I can say is simple, but paradoxical in this era of total sampling: Be original.
I like the idea of it as a trickster motif.
You know like you're kind of just messing around with people's memories of songs.
Randomness has an incredibly powerful place in our culture.
If you think about it, you can see it driving the algorithms that run our information economy, patterns that make up the traffic of our cities, and on over to the way the stars and galaxies formed.
I think that the audience intuitively understands the idea of sampling and remixing stories. That's why electronic music is global.
My work is all about creating new paths for thinking about the possibilities inherent in all art; another world is possible!
There is a complexity and layering that goes on with this kind of thing, so the music is slightly repetitive and when I say repetitive it's in the same tradition as people like Steve Reich or Erik Satie or even WC.
DJ culture is all about collage - sampling, splicing, dicing - everything is part of the mix, and there are no boundaries between sound sources. When you apply the same logic to the environment, there's a lot of room for mapping sampling techniques to the environment itself.
In my book "Sound Unbound" we traced the guy who actually came up with the main concept for the graphic design of the record cover sleeve. His name is Alex Steinweiss. And one of the things in my book that we really tried to figure out was the revolution in graphic design that occurred when people put images on album covers.
In fact, if you look at the root word of phonograph it just means phonetics of graphology, phono-graph, writing with sound, so graphology. You know graffiti, same root word.
Phonetics, you know speech, all this kind of stuff, phonograph, simple, but when you unpack the meaning it actually kind of expands out and that is what I was going for in my book "Sound Unbound" was to try and get people to figure out how do we unpack some of the meanings that go into these kinds of sonically coded landscapes.
Sound... if you look at bats you know that navigate with sonar, they're like you know they're very precise. They can even see a bat head towards a building and swerve away, but you'll see a bird that doesn't... you know smash right into a glass window. It's very funny.
We live in a world so utterly infused with digitality that it makes even the slightest action ripple across the collection of data bases we call the web.
Antarctica is one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.
I don't think that everyone should go there. I also think that we need to respect it as a kind of a national park for the planet. It should be you know put in parentheses.
You'll get this kind of psychological relationship to the imagery of the music, but that idea is translated to iPhone apps. It's translated to the small, you know, kind of icons on your computer. You name it.
I can only wonder what astronauts must feel like or something like that when you're really in the space of silence and you are feeling and breathing in a way that you're really aware of your muscle and bone and the breath and the body and the movement and all of those things that just you take for granted in the urban landscape.
What I wanted to try and figure out was, okay, in contemporary 21st century life the alienation between the self and the land around you or the self and even the urban landscape. You name it.
I think record cover sleeves really led towards, but at the same time the album as we know it didn't come into being until mainly after the Second World War because record labels realized they'd be able to make a lot more money putting all the singles of an artist onto one album and selling the whole album as a kind of a concept.
Downtown New York, I'm within certain styles of music and I'm also within certain cultural, you know, and literary context. So DJ Spooky was meant to be a kind of ironic take on that. It was always meant to be kind of a criticism and critique of how downtown culture would separate genres and styles because it was ambiguous. You couldn't fit it into anything and that was the point.
So the physicality of that and the just the sheer lack of urban noise and machinery - just the wind, the water and your breath, you know that kind of thing - it was pure poetry and you know I treasure that.
Our contemporary life is based on information that can change at any time.
It's an essay that Sigmund Freud wrote about E.
T.A. Hoffman's short story called "The Sandman" where someone mistakes an inanimate object for a living, breathing human being. And one of the things that Sigmund Freud really felt was that in modern life people assign qualities to objects around them that may not exist there whatsoever.
I'm talking like just the beauty, but at the same time to get people to realize that we should treasure it. Maybe visualize it, but leave it alone. A
You know we're in a planet surrounded by certain kinds of frequencies and noise.
The earth's magnetic sphere makes weird sounds. The sun you know the heart of our solar system makes noise. Even interstellar phenomena like black holes. You know people have studied them and a black hole can emit sound in like the range of 20,000 octaves below B flat.
Geography is crucial for my work. I went to Antarctica and took a studio to several of the main ice fields to make field recordings of ice to create a symphony - acoustic portraits of ice.
I felt like on one hand the clarity of thought was amazing, but on the other we went during Antarctic summer, so the sun didn't set the whole time we were there.
The planet isn't improvising, it's creating dynamic tensions between complex living systems in a planetary choreography, a balancing act between physical, chemical, biological, environmental, and human components.
The idea of a visual icon that gives you a sense of information very quickly and that you can easily just say "That's what the style is."
Reality itself is [made up of] chance processes linked to sets of rules - this is what drives the world, the universe, and just about anything a human being can imagine.
I've tended to find that myths of the near future give people the ability to really kind of explore the present, so say for example if look at William Gibson and his book Neuromancer or if you look at J.G. Ballard or Samuel Delaney those are probably three of my favorite writers in that genre.
When you're coming up with different ways of getting old memories to transform - you're scratching, you're doing all this kind of sampling - what ends up happening is that you're becoming a kind of writer with sound.
The most scarce resource we have these days is the idea.
I was never planning on being a musician. It's basically a hobby that sprawled out of control.
You're only as good as your record collection.
Try this experiment, closing your eyes and navigating with your ears.
It's eerie because walls, you can actually hear your footstep maybe bounce off of or you can feel the vibration of your voice and help that... use that to navigate.
Now if you think about the 20th century and the idea of visual vocabulary the album occupies a really important space in the cultural landscape and, above all.
One of the main things that differentiates them [artists of 70s] from artists before is that they made albums based on the fact that they didn't care about the band as a thing in its own right. They cared about manipulating the recording and that became the album.
You know, in the sentence of humanity this place needs to be a parentheses.
And when I say parentheses I mean I'm talking like you go around it. Leave it alone. Let it exist. And what I want people to see with this film is not only a respect for this place from the bottom of my heart.
When you say what is the difference between me and my stage name the idea is that as a musician you always think of yourself as inhabiting a certain cultural space in the kind of a cultural landscape, so when I say cultural space what I mean to imply there is that you exist within certain parameters of how people think of culture.
If you don't understand the past, the future won't make much sense either.
For me, DJ culture - with its obsession with collecting records and archiving everything - predated the "cloud" concept with primitive material like the mixtape. Now we would call it "collaborative filtering" or something technical, but the impulse is the same - gather fragments, make something new. That is how you will bypass the climate-change skeptics: render them totally obsolete.
I think science fiction and sound is a really interesting thing.
You might as well think of it as sonic fiction.
Whenever you play a song, you're basically playing with a lot of zeros and ones.
These are Western compositional models that other cultures have explored in so many ways.
Music, art, and literature are inseparable for me.
How does "composition" evolve in a music and art context? It's a question we can never answer: it only asks for more information and generates more questions.
The world is a very, very, very big record. We just have to learn how to play it.
If I take that person and play them as a record I'm becoming not only a conductor and composer of collage, but at the same time I'm looking at a whole layer of what goes into copyright law, who owns those memories, who owns the way that that sound gets remixed and transformed and above all how much fun it is to actually just mess with other people's stuff.
What I'm going for with the string arrangements for my Antarctic symphony is a pun here.
On one hand you have a string quartet, which is not a symphony.
On the other hand is you have me sampling them and making it sound like there is many more people playing, so the whole notion of, kind of, sampling applied to classical music is very intriguing to me because composers throughout history have borrowed motifs and quotes from one another.