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Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture Paperback – August 16, 2016
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"[Clayton's] frank curiosity and broad musical tastes form the basis for this terrific book about the globalization of ideas in our age of 'digital superabundance' . . . Humor and humility infuse descriptions of a street dance party in Kingston, Jamaica; traffic in Cairo; and a smoke-filled music store in Beirut. Throughout, we feel the moral weight of the personal stories behind the music . . . Guided by empathy and openness to the new, this DJ has his ear to the ground." ―Daphne Kalotay, New York Times Book Review
“Jace Clayton is a bricoleur like no other whose curiosity leads him fearlessly beyond fixed cultural boundaries to make connections and find insights that are brilliant and unique. He looks at the world and makes culture from gorgeously odd angles―every sentence of this book is a gem.” ―Elizabeth Alexander
"Some people think global music culture is homogenous, but it's not. Everything is mutating at a high speed and even higher bitrate. For any real insight into why and how it’s happening, it's essential to be part of it and to document with the eye of a creator. Jace Clayton flows like water around the world, getting to the bottom of it all." ―Diplo
“I’m so glad to read such an upbeat version of the future of music and the music public. Uproot raises some interesting propositions about how musicians will be making music in the ever-evolving world. I like Jace Clayton’s positive spin.” ―Laurie Anderson
“As befits a seasoned DJ, Jace Clayton’s eclectic travelogue effortlessly blends technology, ethnomusicology, and economics into a unique, fascinating hybrid. Uproot reminds us that while smartphones put the world at our fingertips, most of us rarely stray from the familiar and formulaic. Take a break from Pitchfork, expand your horizons, and read this book. Uproot is a cosmopolitan clarion call, full of passion and insight as infectious as a pop hook.” ―Astra Taylor
“The revolution will be auto-tuned. Jace Clayton shows how technology disrupts not only the music industry but musicians themselves. Platforms maybe more open than ever, but the trade-offs are complex: music becomes mechanized, and listeners are sold to the highest-bidding social marketer. This book is both accessible and profound.” ―Douglas Rushkoff
"In this exhilarating book, Clayton, aka DJ Rupture, guides readers on an international tour of various forms of music and music-making technologies within many cultures . . . Clayton urges readers to embrace the power of music, recognizing its energetic and enduring capacity to capture and express shared emotions and to become a 'memory palace with room for everybody inside.'" ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture . . . An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge.” ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Jace Clayton's essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Bidoun, Frieze, and FADER, where he is a regular contributor. As DJ /rupture, he has performed widely and released several critically acclaimed albums. He lives and works in New York City.
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PS: I brought the much-hyped "Every Song Ever" book on the same trip, and quit reading not even halfway through because I couldn't stand how it was written. This book, on the other hand, will actually give you an insight into how you can (and cannot) listen to every song ever, and goes long on the challenges of technology/software as part of music production. Don't read that, read this. (Or read both!)
The breadth of his musical knowledge is astounding and the book takes the reader through many vibrant musical landscapes that are either completely overlooked in the West or worse- blandly repackaged into commercial "world music."
His travels, international musical connections, and nuanced discussion of the affects of digitization and the Internet on musical traditions throughout the world had me tear through the book and wish there was more. Highly recommend!
He makes the movement of music sound like the journeys of refugees and migrants: “This is the sound of files that have survived patchy connections and erroneous metadata, straddling pirate servers and shaky Bluetooth transfers and YouTube rips, evading spam filters en route to Russian wares sites, to end up on a desktop or in some web video accompanied by an equally messed-up JPeg.” Clayton suggests that foreign sounds are like a non-physical invasion. He celebrates the dancefloor as a space for both affirming and re-inventing a community. (Clayton has also created a website to help readers listen to the music he discusses and watch interesting film clips.)