Dubstep pervades DJ/rupture’s”Uproot”

UprootDJ/ruptureThe AgricultureBass. How low can it go, anyway? Since the start of the ’00s, electronic music producers in London attempted to find an answer to Chuck D’s age-old question. Their response was a genre of music called dubstep.An appropriate name, dubstep is deeply influenced by dub reggae, but features basslines lower and darker than Keith Hudson could have fathomed during even his most daring experimentations. In only a few short years, dubstep has had a profound influence on electronic music. The Internet, and in particular, blogging, served to deterritorialize the urban bass wobble. What was once a sound specific to South London, can be heard in productions as varied as German techno artist Ellen Allien, to Britney Spears’ 2007 track “Freakshow.” “Uproot,” the latest mix by DJ, musician and writer DJ /rupture is strongly indebted to this effervescent genre; indeed, dubstep’s sub-bass essentially pervades the disk’s 56 minutes. Since 2001’s watershed three-deck mix, “Gold Teeth Thief,” /rupture’s mixes were celebrated for their unpredictability. His sound seamlessly mixed commercial hip-hop with razor-sharp breakcore, Jamaican dancehall with glitch, noise with Paul Simon. “Uproot” continues this tradition of unpredictability, but marks a lucid change in his sound. /Rupture is evolving. Breakcore enthusiasts (there are still a few of you out there, right?) will be hard pressed to find an amen drum break anywhere on “Uproot.” Nor will they find the sheets of digital noise and beats per minutes (bpm) reaching the 180 mark inseparable from /rupture’s earlier mixes. No song on “Uproot” ventures far beyond dubstep’s patented 140 bpm. This is a slower, more downbeat /rupture. Tonally, /rupture’s sound has never been as cohesive. Every track, even as he glides between icy electronic music to warm neo-classical strings, maintains a balanced vibe: deep and low. As it is a DJ mix of other artists’ music, the musicians differ between song to song, but /rupture’s mark is always felt. This is the way one DJ hears the world. The mix is unmistakably urban, but not claustrophobic. It is the sound of a burgeoning city after globalization, where cultural markers are borderless, and slide through the streets and into people’s homes as if carried by the wind. It’s rare to hear a DJ mix that doesn’t go for epic highs. DJ /rupture is not interested in highs here, which isn’t so say that the music is poor, on the contrary, it superbly subtle, never obvious, always understated. DJ /rupture has always borrowed other people’s songs to create his own music, through integrating disparate songs and discovering new compositions in the way the songs interact with one another.A famed precursor to the now-vogue mash-up craze, /rupture is just plain showing off his blending ability during (perhaps) my favorite moment of the mix. Combining a composition by experimental composer Brent Arnold, “Ehru Solo,” featuring a twisting ehru (a stringed instrument from China sometimes affectionately called the “Chinese two-string fiddle”) pattern, with a track by Berlin’s dub-techno outfit, Timeblind, /rupture slips an a cappella of Maga Bo’s track with Mo?roccan MC, Bigg, entitled “3akel.” We have here an American playing a traditional Chinese instrument, mixed with a German techno producer referencing Jamaican dub reggae, mixed with a song by a Brazillian musician featuring a Moroccan rapper. The result is a perfect mix of organic strings with cold, German bass and Arabic baritone. Is this is sound of globalization?4.5 StarsUprootDJ/ruptureThe Agriculture