Jace Clayton, also known as DJ /rupture, is not the only blogging musician who appears on The Factual Opinion’s favorite albums of 2008. Nor is he the only blogger that doubles as a music critic—the other will appear a little further down the list. But he is the only one to actively fuse music criticism into his albums. Uproot, Clayton’s first fully-licensed, commercially available mix since 2002’s Minesweeper Suite, is a taste-making album, one that plays with an “if you like this, you might like this” agenda. DJ /rupture essentially uses the same lingua franca as Girl Talk—he pits large chunks of source material against one another in order to illuminate the commonalities between disparate pieces of music. In both artists’ hands, a mix is almost a political act—as bridging common ground often is. Still his artistic peak, Girl Talk’s Night Ripper provided the perfect metaphor for the musical terrain of 2006, at a time when pop, rap and club artists—Girl Talk’s source material of choice—began to gain the same sort of critical cache as their rock contemporaries, and almost unlimited access to music threatened to make fans and collectors spontaneously combust. Two years later, so much has changed, and Uproot stands in stark counterpoint to Girl Talk’s masterpiece—the creepy comedown to Night Ripper’s euphoric high. Uproot encapsulates feeling of 2008 by building a case for what music is, wants to be and should become.
On his blog Negrophonic, DJ /rupture rarely discusses Uproot. One of the few times he did, he posted the (phenomenal) video for Nokea Baby Kites' "Reef" alongside an animated YouTube depicting T-Pain and Akon on a trip to the mall. Right now, on the front page, there are mp3s of cumbia, dubstep, and a Hot Chip Wiley remix. With his wealth of knowledge, you get the idea that DJ /rupture could have made any mix he wanted to. With his wealth of knowledge, you get the idea that DJ /rupture could have made any mix he wanted to. That he chose to craft Uproot is telling. Like many of his contemporaries, Clayton has become fascinated with dubstep, and Uproot makes a case for it as one of the richest and most vital genres in dance music today. He does this not by creating a strict dubstep mix, but by unearthing songs like "Elders" by Clouds--a DIY dubstep outfit from Finland--and placing them in opposition to songs from other, often world-music-referencing, styles in order to extract an overall impression. The result is a darkly moody, late-night mix that accentuates the post-apocalyptic doom of The Bug and Burial, but with the elbow-room to fixate on, say, the lush strings of Ekkeherd Ehlers' "Plays John Cassavettes Pt. 2" /rupture uses the Ehlers piece at the end of a beat driven but laconically paced first half. After the song fades, there's a moment of silence--as if to alert the digital listeners, "This is where you would flip the record"--before picking back up again with Ghislain Poirier's "Ignadjossi." Poirer is a contemporary of Clayton's--a global-thinking DJ from Montreal--and, aside from "Ignadjossi" being a breathtaking tune of its own right) the inclusion of him on Uproot speaks to the generosity of spirit that pervades the album. Clayton is interested in bringing disconnected things together--whether in the form of drawing connections between countries' indigenous music, or introducing his audience to sounds outside their particular wheelhouse.