Rhythm Science
The book with its companion CD is available NOW!
Buy it at MIT Press
Buy it at AMAZON


Sampling Digital Music and Culture

Edited by Paul D. Miller aka
DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid
Foreword by Cory Doctorow
Introduction bySteve Reich


by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid

"Once you get into the flow of things,
you're always haunted by the way that things could have turned out.
This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift.
The uncertainty is what holds the story together,
and that's what I'm going to talk about."

The conceptual artist Paul Miller, also known as Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid, delivers a manifesto for rhythm science--the creation of art from the flow of patterns in sound and culture, "the changing same." Taking the Dj's mix as template, he describes how the artist, navigating the innumerable ways to arrange the mix of cultural ideas and objects that bombard us, uses technology and art to create something new and expressive and endlessly variable. Technology provides the method and model; information on the web, like the elements of a mix, doesn't stay in one place. And technology is the medium, bridging the artist's consciousness and the outside world. Miller constructed his Dj Spooky persona ("spooky" from the eerie sounds of hip-hop, techno, ambient, and the other music that he plays) as a conceptual art project, but then came to see it as the opportunity for "coding a generative syntax for new languages of creativity." For example: "Start with the inspiration of George Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strip. Make a track invoking his absurd landscapes. . .What do tons and tons of air pressure moving in the atmosphere sound like? Make music that acts a metaphor for that kind of immersion or density." Or, for an online "remix" of two works by Marcel Duchamp: "I took a lot of his material written on music and flipped it into a DJ mix of his visual material--with him rhyming!" Tracing the genealogy of rhythm science, Miller cites sources and influences as varied as Ralph Waldo Emerson ("all minds quote"), Grandmaster Flash, W. E. B Dubois, James Joyce, and Eminem. "The story unfolds while the fragments coalesce," he writes.

RHYTHM SCIENCE has been chosen as one of the 50 best designed books by the AIGA, as part of "AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers" competition. 900 entries have been reviewed.

Afrika Bambaataa, Dj Spooky, and Grandmaster Flash

Dj Spooky and Grand Mixer DST


Checkout HYPNOTEXT, the 'web take' of the book, by Peter Halley!

(more about Peter Halley HERE)


This is a review of Paul D. Miller's Rhythm Science by London's Kodwo Eshun in Osmosis, the magazine that accompanies London's renowned Blacktronica club nite. Additional contributors include David Adjaye, Ekow Eshun, and Charlie Dark. Eshun's first book More Brilliant than the Sun came out in 1994 on Quartet Books.


Rhythm Science makes the UK Guardian Observer's list of Books of the Year!
"Paul D. Miller - aka DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid - is an underground treasure. An African-American cultural theorist-cum-musician, his Rhythm Science (Mediaworks) is a sharp, sweetly designed little number, a manifesto for his way of looking at the world. Tracing connections between Duchamp, Debussy, the Wu Tang Clan and the everyday creativity he saw growing up in Washington DC, he shows how art and idealism can activate each other in this era of sampling and 'multiplex consciousness'. In its range of reference and its fruitful speculations, it reminds me of our own Kodwo Eshun's groundbreaking More Brilliant Than the Sun (Quartet) of a few years back."
--Diran Adebayo, Writer

"Once again, Paul Miller has pushed the sonic arts and sciences to a new level, and in the process re-mastered literary form. I guarantee, this book will mess with your head, but in a funky way."
--Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"Dj Spooky and COMA, together sampling provocative thoughts and creative graphic design, have made Rhythm Science a fascinating addition to today's book culture."
--Bernard Tschumi, Dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and
Preservation, Columbia University

"We've ended the century of broadcast culture -- when manufacturers produced the culture we consume. In this brilliant and beautiful book, Paul Miller gives us the rhythm of sampled culture -- culture created by those who can remix, and by technologies that enable anyone to remix. Rhythm Science is science; it is art; it is the story of how freedom would build better science and art. Dark, with bright flashes, in tempo, with syncopation, it is a companion to the next stage, if we're allowed that next stage despite law that would keep us locked in the past."
--Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School, author of The Future of Ideas: The Fate of
the Commons in a Connected World

"In Rhythm Science Miller remixes sounds and ideas with equal dexterity.
A new vibe for a new world."
--John Akomfrah, film director

"It wouldn't much surprise me if DJ Spooky invigorates the intellectual world someday as Professor Spooky or even Chancellor Spooky."
--Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown and Tomorrow Now: Envisioning
the Next Fifty Years

"Paul Miller has got the brilliant negro thang down cold. This is a meditation on music and self in which Paul plays with words much the way DJ Spooky plays with sound."
-- Touré, author of The Portable Promised Land

"Miller's insights as a practicing and successful DJ are fresh and unpretentious."
-- Publisher's Weekly

"Rhythm Science is a small book that makes a huge leap for the culture of
the now. It's software for your head. Upgrade your grey matter.""
-- Roy Christopher, SLAP

Rhythm Science is available now at MIT Press.
Also available at Amazon.com

Institutional inquiries and sales:
In the United States, contact Erika Valenti at MIT Sales: special_sales@mitpress.mit.edu
In Europe/Uk, Africa, the middle East and India: cs-books@wiley.co.uk
In Asia, Australia, Canada: orders@triliteral.org


Special thanks to the
European Graduate School Media and Communication Studies Program
for their continued support.

Syllabus for Media Sounds Class