Uproot, Rupture's first release since returning to Brooklyn after seven years in Spain, offers his most intimate work to date. Rupture is not a DJ to rest on previous highs, but who constantly looks for new ones. He proved that he can DJ fast & dense with his influential Gold Teeth Thief & Minesweeper Suite mixes - now it's time for the sensual slow dance of a (relatively) smooth turntablist-experience that deepens on repeat listens. Uproot downshifts into languorous long-blends and gorgeous moments of ambient warmth. This is surely his most 'listenable' mix to date, blended seamlessly with elements from UK dubstep and Brooklyn dancehall to Berlin abstraction, not to mention Brazil (Maga Bo), Finland (Clouds), Australia (Dead Leaf) and more. Taking the twin lessons of bass and space taught by 70s Jamaican dub visionaries, Uproot explores a wealth of new material - almost half of it previously unreleased - in a mix that is deep, contemplative, and contagious. Cosmopolitan bass never sounded so good.
Review by John Bush
DJ /rupture fans who are able to remember his excellent studio record from 2004 (Special Gunpowder) shouldn't be surprised at the variety or quality of 2008's Uproot mix album. A collection of downtown techno experimentalism, and including a cast of collaborators close to /rupture's heart, Uproot sounds of a piece, and actually a little monotonal compared to his sprawling, guest-heavy production album of four years earlier. That said, Uproot earns high marks for its cohesion, with clashing effects never getting in the way of its insistent groove (it is a mix album, after all). Highlights come with the dub digitalia of Ekstrak and the contributions (both a track and a remix) from Team Shadetek.
[The Agriculture; 2008]
Jace Clayton (aka DJ/rupture) inspires a special tenor of admiration from music critics because, in addition to crafting literate, reference-rich, and conversational music, he often writes about it just as adeptly. It's not a stretch, if we're honest, to say that he writes about music more skillfully and illuminatingly than the majority of us who have ever done it full-time. He is, to put it bluntly, one of those people who gets it right far more often and in more different ways than your ordinary person really should. Uproot is another one of those instances.
In the broadest, most literal sense, Rupture came to rise as a mashup artist, and there are certainly elements of Uproot-- a mix following on the turrets of 2002's Gold Teeth Thief and Minesweeper Suite and 2005's Low Income Tomorrowland-- that find him flexing those muscles. To give him that tag, though, would be a bit misleading; Rupture uses the form to different ends. Folks like Girl Talk, Diplo, and A-Trak use mashups to make superficial connections, or to make people dance, or to be clever, or, sometimes, to be clever-clever. Rupture, as the name implies, creates fissures. He's less likely to rip four bars or a hooky lyric from something as he is to extract its mood in total; he's less interested in creating fleeting moments than he is in creating large, interweaving tapestries. Because his source material is generally pulled from dubstep, ragga, outré hip-hop, found sounds, and other indigenous musics, those tapestries can often sound political. Clayton has such a global, democratic ear and such a knack for soupy unease that it's difficult not to hear his mixes, at least partly, as commentary pieces. Even when, as is the case with Uproot, his mixes veer on the neatly manicured side, they still ultimately feel combustible out of the box.
While Uproot feels every bit as purposeful as those earlier mixes, it achieves that goal though different means. Musically, it's far more subdued and spacious; the lacerating swathes of digital noise have been subbed out for tracks that favor lonely, clattering rhythms, yawning sub-basslines, and displaced vocals. Like a lot of his contemporaries, Rupture has clearly gravitated towards dubstep over the past few years, and Uproot shows his selection skills in that space are as impeccable as they are elsewhere. From the cavernous glissandos in Frescoe's "Afghanistan" to the twerky, demodulated keys in Filastine's "Hungry Ghost (Instrumental)" to the haunted illbient fog of Moving Ninja's "Uranium", Clayton's selections are generous and far-reaching, and build a pretty compelling case for dubstep as the most creatively robust genre in electronic music right now.
Perhaps surprisingly, Uproot also features moments of genuine, unfettered softness and beauty. Atki2's "Winter Buds" is a dubstep rhythm that rests on an expected rush of warm piano chords, while Dead Leaf's "Save From the Flames All That Yet Remains" chases the looping, pulsing ambient of Professor Shehab + Lloop's "Drunken Monkey (Ambient Remix)" with a gentle swell of strings and pianos. Most notable, though, is the 1-2 punch that provides the mix's stirring midway point; a bittersweet interlude from cellist and Clayton collaborator Jenny Jones provides the segue into a few minutes from the second of Ekkehard Ehlers' terrific two-part ode to filmmaker John Cassavetes, from his 2002 album Plays. Although roundly earmarked as special by the relative few who heard it upon its release, history has arguably done "Plays John Cassavetes" a disservice. Clayton's resurrection of it here, in turn, speaks to another key reason his mixes are special; he's in the rare category of DJs who gives the impression that he is not just wading through music, but correcting it by building his own canon, and constructing an alternate history. It's a place you would want to live.
- Mark Pytlik, October 24, 2008