Grad school funk

Dec 8, 1999 at 12:00 am

DJ Spooky (Paul Miller) is the thinking man's beat-scaper, boldly positing his chin-stroking take on post hip-hop genre-scrambling as DJ culture's answer to a comp lit (dis)course. Trouble is, for all Spooky's highbrow reference-pointing, his music's never quite gotten the funk down as convincingly as its Ph.D. Here, in free jazz mode, Spooky grabs his trusty stand-up bass like he's Mingus cramming for finals and heads into the noble savagery of tearing the roof off the grad library with study buddies, ace jigsaw puzzle jazzbos the Freight Elevator Quartet.

On "The Revolution Will Be Streamed," he tinkers, then builds a ruddy riddim architecture out of breakbeats, binary codes and a violin's mournful wail. While there's the arty reference or three to the Futurist Manifesto, Miller and the FEQ aren't afraid of the fevered pitch of open-ended jazz jamming that not only flips the script, but tosses the damn thing out the window, which, not surprisingly, makes for some of this arty all-night-radio-show-during-finals' recording's better moments.

Here's to more "future" and less "ism" from the Spooky camp.

Hobey Echlin writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].