Sound Unbound by DJ Spooky on MIT Press

David Allenby Pierre Boulez
Catherine Corman
Chuck D
Erik Davis
Scott De Lahunta
Manuel DeLanda
Cory Doctorow
Eveline Domnitch Frances Dyson
Ron Eglash
Brian Eno
Dmitry Gelfand
Dick Hebdige
Lee Hirsch
Vijay Iyer
Ken Jordan
Douglas Kahn
Daphne Keller
Beryl Korot
Jaron Lanier
Joseph Lanza
Jonathan Lethem
Carlo McCormick
Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen
Alondra Nelson
Keith and Mendi
, Hans Ulrich Obrist
Pauline Oliveros
Philippe Parreno
Ibrahim Quraishi
Steve Reich
Simon Reynolds
Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud
Nadine Robinson
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Alex Steinweiss
Bruce Sterling
Lucy Walker
Saul Williams
Jeff E. Winner. Special thanks
for Editorial Assistance to
Roy Christopher

About the Editor
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid is a conceptual artist, writer, and musician living and working in New York City. His artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennale for Architecture, the Andy Warhol Museum, and many other venues. His written work has appeared in such publications as the Village Voice and Artforum. He is an editor of the magazine 21c and the author of Rhythm Science (MIT Press, 2004).

Download Contributor Bios


Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky, Milan, 2008 photo credit: Roberto Masotti

Sampling Digital
Music and Culture

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




MIT Press May 2008
Includes Audio CD


MIT Press

Bring Da Noise - WYNC
Sound Unbound Contributor Wins Pulitzer Prize
DJ Spooky & Girl Talk Interview
Boing Boing
NY Times Sunday Book Review
Amazon Wire Podcast
Nylon Magazine Article
Pitchfork Media
Neural Review in Italian

Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky: Lectures on Sound Unbound at Google's Corporate Headquarters
August 20, 2008

Daphne Keller, Senior Legal Counsel to Google, contributed an essay to Sound Unbound.

“What a marvelous collection!
This provocative and wide ranging book is packed with a vast number of facts and theories: the sound of creation in the Vedas, the Muslim influence on early hip hop, mathematical permutations of bell patterns (Eno), the term 'Emptyv' (Chuck D). The essays criss cross over many aspects of sound--cosmic, chemical, political, economic. It sparks questions (Can sound be translated into light?) and presents bits of information like the name for Jamaican sound systems ('Houses of Joy'). Plus you get to meet fascinating characters like Alex Steinweiss (album cover artist), Motown's Berry Gordon and synthesizer pioneer Raymond Scott. And you get to consider how Bach's style might have been influenced by his job copying Vivaldi scores. Reading Sound Unbound also invites you to reconsider techno hype, as when Bruce Sterling describes laptops as 'colorful, buzzing cuddly things with the lifespan of hamsters.' I love this book!"
--Laurie Anderson

"Paul Miller has grabbed disparate philosophies and references from the past five hundred years and tied them into a neat and interesting narrative on music, sound, and current thought in our time. Sound Unbound is an excellent reference on art--in the popular context--in the twenty-first century."
--Branford Marsalis

"It's a lovely eclectic collection that is a nice antidote to the usual way music and the history of music is often categorized into high/low, pop/classical, or black/white. I like Sterling's analogy between our beloved high-tech media and inscrutable indecipherable archaic media like Incan quipus. From Raymond Scott to the hidden racism in digital circuitry to a history of easy listening, there is enough inspiring weirdness here to fuel some musical fires for a good while."
--David Byrne

"Everything must be about one thing first, then it can be about many things. Paul Miller's collection of texts is about one thing: the use of scanning in music and more generally the world around us. He gives us a single structure to put very different experiences and theoretical constructs into an overarching context. The result is always interesting and often illuminating. These essays by thinkers and practitioners range widely and produce their own static and interferences, but they fall into one perceptible rhythm. A good staging of an opera uses what you see on stage to make you hear better. Similarly, these reflections make it easier to tune in to the sometimes confusing soundscape of our dislocated, interrelated, networked times."
--Robert Wilson

"For the maverick rhythm scientist Paul D. Miller, sound is liquid; it spills over and slips under categories, firewalls, case law, and legal codes to find us and move us. In the same way, his important collection of sound thinkers and sound ideas calls us to remove the fake 'security' imposed on us by capital and state, and, more crucially, to reimagine freedom and reclaim our creativity."
--Jeff Chang,
author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

"Paul Miller is one of the best cultural radars in the world today. He always picks out the most relevant people working today and reveals previously unseen connections. If you want situational awareness about the world of sound, music, performance, computers, and ideas, read this book."
--Lev Manovich
Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego, CA

If Rhythm Science was about the flow of things, Sound Unbound is about the remix-- how music, art, and literature have blurred the lines between what an artist can do and what a composer can create.

In Sound Unbound, Rhythm Science author Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid asks artists to describe their work and compositional strategies in their own words. These are reports from the front lines on the role of sound and digital media in an information-based society. The topics are as diverse as the contributors: composer Steve Reich offers a memoir of his life with technology, from tape loops to video opera; Miller himself considers sampling and civilization; novelist Jonathan Lethem writes about appropriation and plagiarism; science fiction writer Bruce Sterling looks at dead media; Ron Eglash examines racial signifiers in electrical engineering; media activist Naeem Mohaiemen explores the influence of Islam on hip hop; rapper Chuck D contributes "Three Pieces"; musician Brian Eno explores the sound and history of bells; Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno interview composer-conductor Pierre Boulez; and much more. "Press 'play,'" Miller writes, "and this anthology says 'here goes.'" The groundbreaking mix CD that accompanies the book features Nam Jun Paik, James Joyce, Jean Cocteau, Allen Ginsberg, Iggy Pop, the Dada Movement, John Cage, Gertrude Stein, Aphex Twin, Sonic Youth, and many other examples of avant-garde music. Most of the CD's content comes from the archives of Sub Rosa, a legendary record label that has been the benchmark for archival sounds since the beginnings of electronic music.

Sound Unbound

Audio Companion CD Track listing:


1. RadioMentale and Matthew Herbert, "Cool Noises"
2. Martyn Bates/Allen Ginsberg,
"Once Loved/A Footnote to 'Howl' (DJ Spooky Remix)"
3. Jean Cocteau, "Le buste (DJ Spooky Remix)"
4. Sun Ra, "Imagination"
5. Mikhail/Gertrude Stein, "Untitled in CoF Minor/A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (DJ Spooky Remix)"
6. DJ Spooky vs. Rob Swift, "Scratch Battle"
7. Marcel Duchamp/The Master Musicians of Joujouka/RadioMentale, "The Creative Act/Interview with George Heard Hamilton/Boujeloud (Solo Drums)/I Could Never Make That Music Again"
8. Raymond Scott, "The Paperwork Explosion"
9. Alter Echo/Pamela Z, "Perpetual Next/Pop Titles 'You'"*
10. Liam Gillick/ RadioMentale and Aphex Twin, "Sarah (Los Angeles Soundtrack)/I Could Never Make That Music Again"
11. James Joyce/Erik Satie,
"Eolian Episode/Gnossiene (DJ Spooky Dub Version)"
12. Steve Reich, "Reed Phase"
13. Shukar/RadioMentale/Raoul Hausmann,
"Cika-Laka/Cool Noises/Bbb"
14. Augustos de Campos/Bill Laswell/To Rococo Rot, "Dias Dias Dias (Spoken by Caetano Veloso)/Above the Earth/Contacte"
15. John Cage, "Rozart Mix"
16. Antonin Artaud, "Pour Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu (To Have Done with God's Judgment) (DJ Spooky Remix)"
17. DJ Spooky, "One Laptop Theme"
18. Susan Deyhim, "The Spilled Cup (DJ Spooky Remix)"
19. Raymond Scott, "General Motors: Futurama (Interstitial)"
20. Marcel Duchamp/George Lewis and Aki Takase,
"Erratum Musical (Score for Three Voices)/Voyage for Three"
21. Bill Laswell/René Magritte,
"Ghost Dub/Le Surréalisme et les Questions"
22. Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker/Pauline Oliveros, "The First Set— Area 4 (Solo)/A Little Noise in the System (Moog System)"
23. Bora Yoon, "// (DJ Spooky Remix)"
24. Pierre Schaeffer, "Cinqétudes de bruits: Étude violette"
25. Daniel Bernard Roumain and Ryuichi Sakamoto,
"The Need to Be"
26. Phillip Glass, "Music in Fifths"
27. Edgard Varèse, "Poème électronique"
28. Iannis Xenakis, "Concret PH"
29. Ryoji Ikeda, "One Minute"
30. Sonic Youth, "Audience (DJ Spooky Remix)"
31. Alter Echo/Ge-te Do-pe,
"Aftermath of Creations Dub (in Three Parts)/Dong Lim"
32. Terry Riley/Alter Echo,
"Dorian Reeds/Aftermath of Creations Dub (in Three Parts)"
33. Luigi Russolo/DJ Spooky, "Corale/FTP > Bundle/Conduit 23"
34. Fanfare Savale/Vladimir Mayakovsky,
"Rumba Lu Georgel/I Know the Power of Words"
35. Droma/Trilok Gurtu and Bill Laswell,
"Pilgrim's Song (Trala Shepa)/Kala"
36. Nam Jun Paik, "Hommage à John Cage"
37. Morton Subotnick/DJ Spooky, "Mandolin/Acid Bassline"
38. The Master Musicians of Joujouka/Hans Arp,
"Mali Mal Hal M'Halmaz/Boujeloud (Solo Drums)/Dada-Sprüche"
39. Sub Swara/Kurt Schwitters, "Koli Stance/Anna Blume"
40. Walter Ruttmann/Troupe from Taschingang,
"Week End/Ache Lhamo"
41. Raymond Scott, "Bendix 1: The Tomorrow People"
42. Martyn Bates/Trinlem, "I Can't Look for You/The Palaces of Gesar's Family (DJ Spooky Remix)"
43. Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, "Incantation for Tape"
44. Carsten Nicolai, "Time ... Dot(3)"
45. William S. Burroughs and Iggy Pop with Techno Animal,
"The Western Land"