Sometimes the book is not enough. Through no fault of the author’s own. In fact, in this case, it’s a sign of just how good the book is. Jace Clayton’s Uproot is a guided tour of the global(ized) world of 21st-century music and digital culture. As he introduces us the Moroccan Berber musicians who pioneered the outer limits of Auto-Tune and Mexican teens revolutionizing EDM by pushing basic software past its “natural” uses, to Japanese noise artists and Indigenous Australian rappers (and to so, so many more), you can’t help but needing to hear it—even if you’ve already intuited that the good stuff’s not going to be on Spotify or iTunes. But Jace is on the case—with some enterprising use of Soundcloud and assiduous scouring our Youtube, he has been pulling together a deeply satisfying online chapter-by-chapter Listening Guide to Uproot, full of plenty of listening and even more to read. Join the adventure at uprootbook.com.
If that’s still not enough - if what you want to hear is not just the deep cuts from such an audacious listener’s library but what’s energizing him right now, he’s got you covered there, too, with a brand new mixtape known as the BOOK NRG MIX, just premiered by the The Fader. “Writing is such a strange activity. You sit at your desk for weeks, months on end,” he wrote them in an email. “After all that I needed to dance around and make a summer mix.” Give it a listen here.
If all this makes you just want a taste of the book (what, you haven’t read it yet?), Pitchfork has an excerpt up to help you out. That, perhaps along with a dose of Jace’s conversation with Kimberly Drew (aka @museummammy) from the book launch at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, should do the trick.
“A remarkable and thought-provoking book . . . Clayton’s vision of vernacular music in the age of the internet is, I think, the most generous and exciting one available to us.”—Will Stephenson, The Fader
“Jace Clayton’s creative work is rigorous, challenging, and eye-opening. That’s as true for the music he’s made under his own name and as DJ /rupture as it is for his writing, which illuminates musical genres, styles, and theories in unexpected ways.”—Tobias Carroll, Literary Hub
“[Clayton is] uniquely qualified to tell the story of music’s transformation in the internet age. And in that way, Uproot doesn’t just feel informed but remarkably dynamic—a remix of music, memoir, and movement.”—Kevin Nguyen, GQ
“Taking us to Kinshasa, Kingston, Cairo, Monterrey, and Beirut, Clayton provides a much-needed global perspective.”—Ben Segedin, Booklist
“Clayton is an eagle-eyed observer of contemporary trends in music, with a unique insider and outsider perspective, since he’s lived through many of shifts as both a critic and a participant . . . Uproot draws on all of these experiences and offers a wide-reaching series of vignettes, riffs, and mini-essays to knit them all together.” — Greg Scruggs, Vice
“A tome as sprawling and excitable in its subject matter as one of the mixes that launched his career as a DJ 15 years ago . . . Uproot’s strength is Clayton’s determination to look beyond the easy answers: he enthuses about the liberatory potential of the new connections, fusions and mutations encouraged by digital music, and globally available cheap software like FruityLoops, but is keen we shouldn’t overlook its limitations.” —Dan Hancox, The Guardian