Anyone familiar with DJ/Rupture’s weekly Mudd Up! Radio show on WFMU will experience a feeling of instant familiarity upon hearing this willfully eclectic mix. Rupture, also known as Jace Clayton, recently returned to live in Brooklyn after a seven-year stretch in Spain, and the 23 tracks on Uproot indicate that his DJ bag is currently stuffed with downtempo dubstep and abstract electronica.
Clayton’s muse has shifted from the kind of frantic hardcore, breakbeat and jungle that made his name. In its place come vast swathes of leaden bass, which swamp this record. Uproot indicates that Clayton is in the throes of a vicelike dubstep grip, and the mood for the record is set in the sublime dope-smoke haze of Clouds’ “Elders” and German breakcore artist Istari Lasterfahrer’s “Bang Soundboy.”
But Clayton is well known for his heterogeneous tastes, and just when the mix starts to sound a little one-note, he’ll throw in a real curveball, such as the looping string motif from Ekkehard Ehlers’ “Plays John Cassavetes Pt. 2.” The original song, also included here on a separate disc full of the original tracks Clayton cut together for Uproot, is a 10-minute opus that has been scythed down to an entrancing two-minute interlude. And, because this is Clayton, a song that initially feels like respite from the central thrust of the record actually becomes its glorious centerpiece on repeat listens.
It’s this kind of playful mixing that makes Uproot such a welcome break from the mire of DJ sets that gain a commercial release. The album is certainly rooted in dub, but instead of simply plowing through a collection of similarly themed tunes, Clayton uses it to set the tone for the album and then fires off on in a multitude of idiosyncratic directions.
So we are presented with a beautiful piece of chamber music, such as Jenny Jones’ “Capilano Bridge," or Stalker’s roughshod collection of barely coherent radio samples on “Radio et Announceurs.” A few uptempo tracks, such as the spiky “Hungry Ghost (Instrumental)” by Barcelona-based beat aficionado Filastine and the propulsive afrobeat of “Mirage” by Quest, also provide a neat counterpoint to the fundamental thread of Clayton’s mix.
Approximately half the tracks here are previously unreleased, and some of them, such as Jones’ delicately mournful composition, were written specifically for Uproot. The album is likely to find favor with clubbers looking for downtempo tunes to soundtrack their comedown. But Clayton’s knack for unearthing wildly disparate compositions, and seamlessly melding them together, will likely induce a few smiles in the blissed-out warmth of the post-club hours.