Just here two months ago for the Nova Arts Festival, Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, is back in town this weekend in yet another incarnation. The New York DJ also known as “That Subliminal Kid” will be presenting a brand new performance he calls The Subliminal Strings Project. Debuted earlier this year at the Sons d’Hiver festival in Paris, the project is an attempt to mash up modern DJ techniques with the timelessness of classical music. Joining Spooky for the Chicago leg of this unusual journey is contemporary violinist Bora Yoon, a multi-instrumentalist who has brought as much innovation and intellect to modern classical music as Spooky has to DJ culture.
“It’s an ongoing project working with different string ensembles,” says Miller. “It’s a fun way to combine classical and hip-hop.” With virtually no other DJs dabbling in this kind of work, Miller is able to come up with a point of reference for electronic music fans. He compares The Subliminal Strings Project to the global fusion of French electronic trio Gotan Project. “My stuff is going to be the nearest equivalent to what they’re doing, like how they are able to do it with Argentinean tango and hip-hop… except with classical.”
In addition to the heavy beats and intricate classical melodies, as usual Miller will be accentuating this performance with generative video art mixed live. A man with a seemingly insatiable appetite for mixing media and dissecting music genres, Miller also has a brand new two-disc Trojan Records collection coming out this Tuesday called “50,000 Volts of Trojan Records.” A while back, Miller was offered access to the legendary Jamaican label’s archives and proceeded to make what he calls his “ultimate fantasy club playlist” featuring the likes of King Tubby, Lee Perry and Peter Tosh. Of course, just last year Spooky released “Drums of Death,” a collaboration with the drummer from Slayer, which followed his 2004 experimental jazz release “Celestial Mechanix: The Blue Series Mastermix.” Classical, dub, reggae, jazz and even metal…is there anything this guy can’t mix? (Brad Knutson)
The Subliminal Strings Project plays at the HotHouse, 31 East Balbo, (312)362-9707 on June 23 at 10pm. $20 presale, $25 at the door.