Category Archives: nyc

WHEN GOD IS IN THE ROOM: new talk @ Union Docs this Friday

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I CAN’T STOP TALKING! Come join me this Friday, November 7th, as a I present on soundsystems & audiences at Union Docs in Brooklyn. From my experiences dancing to jungle back in the day to thoughts on Koranic recitation & improv, robots who love shape-note singing, and maybe some Billy Joel. This forms part of a series on spectatorship curated by Mathilde Walker-Billaud.

Here’s the description for my talk, called When God Is In The Room:

What’s so special about experiencing sound in a packed club? Why does music sound better when God is in the room? How did supercomputers listening to geology improve pop music? Jace Clayton (aka DJ /rupture) will explore these questions and more. From personal stories of after-hours dancing in Boston and Jamaica to a discussion of Koranic recitation in Egypt. Listening audiences considered from the body, the earth below, and the heavens above. Jace Clayton will play music, show videos and images.

Union Docs is a great space with interesting programming — if you haven’t been then you should remedy that this week! Friday, Nov. 7th, 2014. 7:30p. $9. 322 Union Ave., Williamsburg
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DJ Rupture – Enero 2013 Cumbia Mix

DJ Rupture - Enero 2013 cumbia mix

A 30-minute mix of “cumbia cumbia, not nueva cumbia” that was previously only available at a NYC taco shop. My man Talacha gets on the mic as sonidero.

I used all cumbias purchased in Brooklyn, so it skews heavily towards cumbias poblanas, mexican cumbias, tunes made in the States. Shoutouts include: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, New Jersey, Virginia, Baltimore, Las Carolinas, Ellay… kinda functions as a map of where Mexicans are strong in the US! There’s no tracklist but that’s OK because everyone is always shouting out their name anyhow…

This mix was originally available as a physical-only CD at a taco shop in the East Village, along with another 30minute mix by Sonido Martines. Here’s the post on that.

Stream or download:

If you’re hungry for more of this stuff, you are in luck, as cumbias are almost always close at hand in the Americas… For starters, the 2009 Cumbia Mix I did for Rob Da Bank’s BBC1 radio show remains popular, and my 2008 Fader Magazine feature article on cumbia remains a good introduction the genre as well as what it’s like to speed around Buenos Aires with Damas Gratis’ frontman Pablo Lescano.

PS1 future talk & New Inquiry summer fete

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On Thursday June 27th, I’ll be speaking at MoMA PS1, “on inexpensive time-travel devices and how the future might not exist.” With nice musical & visual examples. The event happens at 4pm and will be streaming from the clouds. For a warmup, check out my recent Frieze essay on Aztec-inspired ideas of cyclical time in new Mexican music.

Prior to that, at 2pm, I’m leading an open discussion about Ted Chiang’s wonderful short story, “The Story of Your Life,” accompanied by Triple Canopy editor Dan Visel.

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On Saturday June 29th, I’m DJing New Inquiry’s summer benefit! This will be my last NYC dj gig for a season or two, and I’m glad to spend it supporting Rachel & her band of braniacs. The event is sold out, although there’s a wait list for the more generous ticket range. Your money pays their writers. ‘Nuff said.

PERFORMA: LOUDSPEAKER – MAY 17

Auto-Tune Matriarch Cher, age 13
[Auto-Tune matriarch Cher, age 13]

On Friday May 17th, I will be speaking at Performa’s LOUDSPEAKER: A Symposium on the Voice. I will discuss Auto-Tune — check my 2009 Frieze essay — as well as Gbadu and the Moirai Index, my upcoming performance for four vocalists and the stock market. LOUDSPEAKER is free with email reservation.

They say:

An Experimental Event on the voice in contemporary performance featuring artists and musicians Joan La Barbara, Jace Clayton, Florian Hecker, and Alex Waterman.

Friday, May 17, 2013
4:00 – 6:30 pm

The Cooper Union
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York City

Free admission with reservation, rsvp@performa-arts.org

more info

DJ Rupture & Very Be Careful in Brooklyn! Sat. March 16

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This Saturday March 16th, I will join L.A.’s contagiously fun latin roots dance band Very Be Careful for a welcome-the-spring-with-a-sweat-sacrifice party at Brooklyn’s Littlefield! VBC specialize in fast accordion jams throwing in vallenato, cumbia, and more. For this special set, I’ll play mostly NYC cumbia poblana, joined by Oaxacan malandrín Talacha on the mic, sonidero style. For a taste of what we’ll bring, you can pick up our mix CD with Sonido Martines available only Tacos Zaragoza in the East Village (ask for it!), or check the excerpt below.

Saturday March 16: DJ Rupture & Very Be Careful @ Littlefield, Brooklyn.

new cumbia mix! Rupture vs Sonido Martines

Internet, what internet? My new mix CD is available only at a taco shop in Manhattan.

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Yes — Sonido Martines & I each made a 30-minute mix of “cumbia cumbia, not nueva cumbia” for your listening pleasure. The hourlong CD is available exclusively at Tacos Zaragoza in the East Village (14th + A), $8. Treating MUSIC as FOOD.

NOTE: some people have had problems with corrupted CDs. If you’ve purchased a CD and it doesn’t read well, leave a comment with snapshot of the CD. Be sure to include your email address in the field (only I can read it) and we’ll make things better…

For my half-hour I used all cumbias purchased in Brooklyn , so it skews heavily towards cumbias poblanas, mexican cumbias, tunes make in the States. Shoutouts include: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, New Jersey, Virginia, Baltimore, Las Carolinas, Ellay… kinda functions as a map of where Mexicans are strong in the US! There’s no tracklist but that’s OK because everyone is always shouting out their name anyhow, and my man Talacha comes on as sonidero. Here’s the 1st 10 minutes of my mix.

THIS SATURDAY IN NYC: RUPTURE & ZS

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This Saturday I’ll be playing a very special show with Zs as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival here in NYC’s lovely sounding Merkin Concert Hall. (I recorded the twin pianos on my upcoming album, The Julius Eastman Memory Depot, at the Merkin.) Saturday will open with 2 half-hour solo sets from the Zs & I. Then — after an intermission! — comes an hourlong collaborative piece. This is where thing’ll get really interesting. Some notes from our brainstorm/plotting session:

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had an opportunity to do a semi-improvised semi-structured collaboration with musicians. Despite the much-lauded (and real) dancer-DJ hive mind, it’s hard to shake off the legacy of DJ as perpetual soloist. In other words: it’s great fun to explore the turntables as an ensemble instrument & that’s why Saturday’s concert is so appealing to me.

In addition, you can do all sorts of things (like play with quietLOUD dynamics) at a seated venue that would be literally impossible (or at least inaudible) in da club. While this sort of experimental festival arrangement can happen fairly frequently in Europe, it is a true rarity stateside. So I strongly encourage you to come out & support. Damage is $25 but it’ll be worth it, and it’s my last hometown gig as DJ /rupture for awhile.

SATURDAY KEYWORDS: Wolf Government, Sufi Plug Ins, Needlework, Cloud Mechanic, Empty Gymnasium.

BONUS: I’ll have my hands-on-mixer projection setup going (photo above), which is like free DJ lessons for turntablists and follow-the-chaos/demystification for everyone else.

FUN FACT: Zs drummer Greg Fox (who is involved in 6 thousand cool projects including Guardian Alien, Ben Frost, former Liturgy etc) uses Sufi Plug Ins in this wild arpeggiated way, which you’ll get to hear.

Here are two images I instagramed while recording @ the Merkin this December:merkin

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BEYOND THE BLOCK & A NEW RUPTURE MIX

This weekend we gave away physical copies of my latest mix CD. Today I’m offering it online. The mix is directly inspired by transnational Mexican sonidero culture, and uses its format to air the voices and stories of a group of dedicated rent strikers out here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Here’s a download of the mix and the story of how it came to be–

This past Saturday, friends & I threw a community-minded block party at Rainbow Park in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The basic idea was to air live music that reflects the population here (Latino, Chinese, Arab…), to bring folks together into a space with great sound as community groups offer info and services.

It takes much painstaking organization, discussion, and collaboration to create an open-ended space, any inclusive moment wide with margins of possibility. I think we managed to do it. Hundreds showed up, listened, participated.

[BTB – kids at Nuria Montiel’s print vinyl station, photo by Sound Liberation Front]

Planning for ‘Beyond The Block’ began in late spring and continued — with weekly meetings! — until this Saturday. Our we grew over time, expanding to include people from Beyond Digital, Dutty Artz, The Arab American Association of New York, CAAAV, La Unión, La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, Sound Liberation Front, and various local artists and community members. Manhattan electronic music school Dubspot donated a grip of top-quality gear. On the day of the event, dozens of volunteers came to help everything flow.

[Undocumented youth activists. Ty Ushka’s instagram.]

We made posters for Beyond The Block in four languages: Spanish, Mandarin, English, Arabic. Musicians/DJs held extended conversations with community organizers working towards social justice. Various worlds shrank. We focused on local, person-to-person outreach — that’s why you didn’t see mention of this event on any blogs for example. Our digital hype/ “social networking” skills were put towards helping our partner organizations located in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge activate & amplify the word through their networks.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

If the dominant mode of musical experience in 2012 is a web-sped diet of consume and move on, then Beyond The Block is interested in learning about the slow social manifestations of all this music that moves us, and asking how our excitement over these sounds can contribute, in a direct way, to the communities where its heartbeat comes from. And besides, I’ve lived in Sunset Park ever since I moved back to the US in 2006.

As we wrote in the mission statement:

Can a hype block party double as an opportunity to spread information about stop & frisk, immigrant rights, police surveillance, and housing? We say yes. As the championing of diversity, a global outlook, and a celebration of the local become increasingly common in today’s dance music scenes, we see an ideal opportunity to use the energy & open-ended vibe of a great party to connect musical ideas to their real-world analogs — to create a space where we can talk about – and dance to – an incredible musical selection while sharing useful information for our communities that are impacted by issues pertaining to undocumented workers’ rights, transnational identity, health care, police violence, housing and more.

How did it go? Fine late summer sun shone on nonstop music performances across a variety of styles and languages — including teen rappers from around the block, Omnia Hegazy’s English-Arabic guitar songs, Los Skarroneros’ Marxist ska-punk, Uproot Andy DJing, and a perfectly-pitched closing ceremony by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan. (This last group had me wishing that DJ Javier Estrada was there, indigenous time rise up).

[photo by Neha Gautam]

In addition to the music were things like: a handball court transformed into a realtime street art gallery, Nuria Montiel’s incredible pushcart art station that let kids transform vinyl records in printing devices, a dozen or so community groups sharing info, $1 spicy grilled octopus from the Chinese food cart…

As fellow organizer Larisa Mann/DJ Ripley wrote, “the face-painting and mural-painting folks were total troopers mobbed by excited kids all day, the community organizations & folks at the tables were full of useful information and good humor and the basketball and handball NEVER STOPPED.” When Ashland Total Freedom came walking up I had to pinch myself. As it turned out, everything really did happen. We’re working on a website but until then you’ll have to peer into the soul-sucking abyss of the Zuckerborg to see it.

[painting produced on the day, Ty Ushka’s instagram]

The point is not to brag about this event. The point is to remind ourselves: this is possible. A few dedicated individuals can leverage a lot. Music can start & sustain conversations. You can throw a block party like this wherever you live, too. Getting the permits and such wasn’t that hard (despite NYC’s somnambulant bureaucracy); sharing the workload made everything easier; post-meeting tacos & micheladas formed their own satisfying world.

But about this new mixtape…

As the planning went on, I started thinking about ways to extend the outburst of energy that comes – then goes! – with putting on a party. Something that could spread slowly, perhaps in online worlds, after we tended to the here-and-now on one exquisite September day.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

In helping to make this block party happen, I ended up working closely with people involved in the rent strike on 46th St. The mixtape idea clicked into place all at once: I would select made-in-the-USA cumbia instrumentals, and have those sounds serve as a backing track to the rent strikers explaining, in their own words, what is happening, why they are struggling. Most of the three rent striking buildings’ residents are Latino immigrants, many from Mexico. I mentioned my idea at a meeting — people were into it. Pues… ¡Vámonos!

[photos taken by rent strikers]

Noelle Theard introduced me to some of the principal rent strikers, then she and Dennis Flores, who had already been working closely with the strikers, conducted incredible interviews. As the Spanish-speakers among us will hear, one of the other great things about these interviews is how very different each person’s perspective on the rent strike is. It ranges from deeply personal accounts — say, of dirty water dripping on Eulogia’s stovetop — to broad political analysis examining the banks’ roles, to philosophical reflections on rights and dignity and how a just struggle can empower. If you don’t understand the Spanish then hopefully the deep cumbias will communicate.

The ‘Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix’ was directly inspired by Mexican sonideros. Sonideros (DJs/sound-people) talk on the mic and select tunes, narrating the party and activating the music, cracking jokes, taking requests to dedicate shoutouts to (often-distant) friends, family, lovers. They literally speak community into existence. Dozens of sonidero parties rock NYC each month, from private weddings to all-nighters in inconspicuous venues under the BQE. (Here’s an introductory article on cumbia sonidera in the New York Times from 2003, and an excellent Spanish language e-book published by friends over at El Proyecto Sonidero.)

Another nice thing about the voices gathered here is how they reflect the high level of women involved in the struggle for housing justice in Sunset Park. (With notable exceptions like DF’s Lupita de la Cigarita, sonidero culture skews heavily towards men on the mic).

But I’ve said enough. Here you go:

DOWNLOAD : Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix [25 minutes, 61MB] (mixed by DJ Rupture, produced by Noelle Theard & Dennis Flores)