Jace Clayton

jace clayton at bang on a can marathon

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Jace Clayton lives and works in New York City. Clayton uses an interdisciplinary approach to focus on how sound, memory, and public space interact, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the global South. A rigorous conceptual framework grounds each project it moves across areas as diverse as software design, writing, or performance. As DJ /rupture, he has performed widely and released several critically acclaimed albums. His book, Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture is out now, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Sign up to receive his monthly newsletter)

In spring 2012, Clayton released Sufi Plug Ins v1.0, a free suite of audio software tools based on non-western/poetic conceptions of sound and alternative interfaces. In 2013 he debuted The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, a performance piece that restages two Julius Eastman compositions using pianos and realtime electronic processing, accompanied by a new libretto about the job search for an Eastman impersonator. The album version was released by New Amsterdam. Clayton recently left the air after a five year run of his weekly radio show on WFMU.

Performing as DJ /rupture, Clayton has DJ’ed in a band with Norah Jones, done two John Peel Sessions, and was turntable soloist with the 80-member Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Recent collaborators include guitarist Andy Moor (The Ex) and filmmaker Jem Cohen. Head to Epiphany School if you’d like to stream or download DJ /rupture music.

These artistic activities find counterpart in grassroots curatorial projects such as spearheading 2011’s art-research residency Beyond Digital in Morocco and hosting a book club. Clayton’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Bidoun, and n+1, and he contributes regularly to Frieze and The Fader. He teaches at Bard’s MFA program.

Clayton is a 2012 Creative Capital grantee and recipient of a Foundation for Contemporay Art artists award. He has been an artist-in-residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. Clayton was a 2010 recipient of the Kindle Foundation’s Makers Muse award.


“Jace Clayton, aka DJ/Rupture, is a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distant and obscure outposts.” — Jon Pareles, The New York Times

“he’s in the rare category of DJs who gives the impression that he is not just wading through music, but correcting it by building his own canon, and constructing an alternate history. It’s a place you would want to live.” — Mark Pytlik, Pitchfork **Best New Music 8.8; #10 album of 2009**

“A stunning, globe-trotting, three-turntable mix… bumping, brash, and without borders.” – Jon Caramanica, VIBE

“You won’t find another musician as agile and reckless as DJ /rupture.” — Mary Ann Hobbes, BBC1

“When most DJs mix, the aim is to blend and maintain whatever rhythmic pace has been established. For /Rupture, mixes are manifestos that dart, bob, and clash in tempo and continent because that’s what life does… /Rupture’s meticulously beatmatched juxtapositions give equal footing to their African, European, America, and Arabic parts.” — Hua Hsu, The Wire


selected online writings:

Curiosity Slowdown” – Frieze, November 2010. This essay on the slowed-down tempos of screw and its influence on contemporary bands was selected by Alex Ross for inclusion in the Best Music Writing 2011 book.

Tribal Guarachero: Mexican Teens & Aztec History” – The Fader, 2009. Clayton investigates the incredible new music phenomenon of tribal guarachero.

Confessions of a DJ” – n+1, 2009.

Pitch Perfect” – Frieze, October 09. The best article on auto-tune or your money back. New York Times called this ‘Idea of the Day’. Zeitgeisty!

Slow Burn” – The Fader, spring 08. Buenos Aires to the Bay Area, 2008 is experiencing the explosion of cumbia, a bomb with a century-long fuse.

Rock the Rai Now” – The National, November 08.

Muslin Gaze” – Bidoun, 07. Long critical piece on Bryn Jones aka Muslimgauze.

Defending the Pig: Oink Croaks” – Mudd Up!, October 07. Later translated into Spanish and Italian and reprinted in Abitare.

Search and Rescue” – Frieze, Sept 08. The hunt for rare African funk records raises questions about how the digitized music of the 21st century will be archived.