Uproot, by Jace Clayton


In 2001, n+1 contributor Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix called Gold Teeth Thief and put it online to share with his friends. Within months, the mix became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to a sprawling, multi-tiered nightclub in Zagreb, a tiny gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in São Paolo, and the MoMA. And just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of an education in the creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first-century globalized world.

Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture is a guided tour of this newly opened cultural space, mapped with both his own experiences and his relationships with other industry game-changers such as M.I.A. and Pirate Bay. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton illuminates the connections between a Congolese hotel band and the indie rock scene, Mexican rodeo teens and Israeli techno, Whitney Houston and robotic voices in rural Moroccan song, and offers an unparalleled understanding of music in a digital age. Uproot takes readers behind the turntable decks to tell a story that only a DJ―and writer―of this caliber can tell.

Praise for Uproot

“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 its not. Everything is mutating at a high speed and even higher bitrate. For any real insight into why and how it’s happening, its 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.”

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

Available for preorder; will ship the week of August 16.
288 pages.

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