I can’t help but imagine that DJ /rupture shakes his head at the college kids giddy over the novelty of hearing ODB rhyme over “Autumn Sweater” and other WTF juxtapositions found on Girl Talk’s smash Feed the Animals mix. An endless stream of “I see what you did there” moments, Greg Gillis’s second effort makes me wonder if he could ever produce a “bad” record. What he does is so simple, and the ground from which he draws his produce is so fertile. I’ve really enjoyed both Girl Talk albums, and for crowd-pleasing club readiness, no one does it better than Gillis. But his mixes have short legs. Neither are worth more than a few spins. The overstated joke wears off after a while, and the philosophy beneath is revealed to be a little soulless.
Uproot is a different animal entirely, a slithering, reptilian creature content to exist beneath the brush. It’s not trying to be clever. It just wants to move the crowd. Returning to Brooklyn after seven years in Barcelona, Rupture has released his most approachable mix yet, blending UK dubstep, German minimalism, and a dozen other sounds from Australia, Sweden, Brazil, and of course Brooklyn. Unlike his previous manic, pummelling mixes, which tend to bombard listeners with so many ideas, Uproot is an assured, laid-back affair. No batteries of breakcore here. This is a record that is just as comfortable on the dance floor as it is in the study.
Rupture was kind enough to include a second disc with Uproot called Ingredients. It’s a humble move that allows the listener to hear the cuts he used to create Uproot in their original, unmixed form.
Dear DJs: Do this from now on.
Not only do we get to enjoy the unadulterated tracks, we gain a deeper appreciation for Rupture’s creativity and finesse. For instance, the innocuous opening synth riff on Clouds’ “Too Much” becomes a menacing salvo when matched with the rumbling guitar distortion of Maga Bo’s “Homeboys”. I checked out Ingredients after a few listens to Uproot, and perhaps this colors my opinion, but Rupture mixes songs in such a way that hearing them in any other context just feels wrong.
Uproot oozes self confidence, with effortless mixing of disparate source material. The hour-long record does not seem to run nearly this long, due to the economy of ideas and excellent pacing. Dancehall bangers flirt with chamber music, Nigerian folk and Moroccan hip-hop, eventually decaying into an extended suite of near beatless ambient post-rock. The closing tracks recall Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a striking contrast with the first half of the record’s wobbling low-end bass and dub. It’s an exquisite way to cool off a mix. Uproot is an accomplished release from one of New York’s finest DJs, one that deftly illustrates his transition from showy wunderkind to an elder statesman of forward-thinking mixology.