DJ /Rupture: Uproot
the Agriculture

A travelogue reminiscent in structure and spirit to 2004's Special Gunpowder, DJ /Rupture's new Uproot mixes twenty-three tracks into a spicy fifty-six minute brew. The former resident of Spain has just returned to the US after seven years abroad but he's clearly kept his ears to the ground regardless of whatever country he's called home. True to the Agriculture form, dub's the nucleus, yes, but the recipe's extended to include dubstep and bass scientists like Shackleton, Ghislain Poirier, and Timeblind, ambient interludes, and even lush string settings.

Armed with a sinuous blend of flute, handclaps, and synths, the seductive funk of Baby Kites and Nokea's “Reef” opens Uproot splendidly, after which Finland outfit Clouds and Istari Lasterfahrer weigh in with the rootsy “Elders” and “Bang Soundboy.” Dubstep's first appearance emerges in the crisp bass thrust driving Nokea's “Cassava,” and Clouds gets in the act too with the wobbly throb of “Too Much.” Contrast abounds: dub and dubstep join hands for Ekstrak's “Mass Dampers”; Filastine anchors a frenetic mix of jittery beats and wiry melodies in “Hungry Ghosts” with handclaps; Australian act Dead Leaf bolsters the album's contemplative side with the string-heavy meditation “Save from the Flames All That Yet Remains”; and Jenny Jones' string piece “Capilano Bridge” segues into Ekkehard Ehlers' “Plays John Cassavettes pt. 2.” Though the mix ventures far and wide, Rupture nods to the label's home base with Team Shadetek's “Brooklyn Anthem” (merged with Quest's “Mirage”) and reference to NY-associated Illbient arises via Professor Shehab + Iloop's languorous ambient treatment of “Drunken Monkey” and We(TM)'s trippy outro “Second-Hand Science.” As engaging as it is, the mix isn't bullet-proof: a more powerful sampling of Poirier's work than the relatively restrained “Ignadjossi feat. Jhonel” might have been chosen, and, perhaps not surprisingly, the collagistic style of Stalker's “Radios et announceurs” is a bit of an overcooked mess.

True to dub form, the production style is open-ended and multi-layered, with Rupture sometimes audaciously cross-breeding tracks into single entities (e.g., grafting erhu playing onto Shackleton's “Naked”), with the fusion of “3 Akel” by Maga Bo and Moroccan vocalist Big with Timeblind's “Strategy Decay” a particularly natural fit. Most tracks are in the two-minute range so things happen fast; a given cut moves into position and moves out just as quickly so don't blink or you might miss it.

October 2008