Nettle is a geography defying project developed by DJ/rupture
(Jace Clayton). It melds superficially disparate genres into textured music that creates a new sense of common-place. Nettle has evolved over the years, but the live shows have remained intimate, powerful and challenging; North African folksong, free improv and classical Arabic composition meet digital hardcore, grimey electronics, and breakbeats.
The project was initiated around 2000; their first track The End of Public Space appeared on a US Illbient compilation Brutal Police Menace (Brooklyn Beats) in November of that year. Their debut 12" Bin Scrape Laden was released February 2001 on DJ/Rupture’s imprint, Soot. At the time, Nettle was a Madrilenian duo (DJ/rupture and DD, a painter and multimedia artist from Madrid, but it has mutated into a trio that unites musicians from three continents, American Clayton; Moroccan Abdel Hak; Scottish Jenny Jones. Abdel Hak and Jones create melodic structures on violin, cello, and oud (11-string Arabic lute), while Clayton brings the low-end via live synths, beat-dubbing, and sampling the acoustic instruments. Nettle is based in Spain, where all the musicians are living as foreigners. Together they create a shared space, a hybrid improvisation of expatriates communicating their musical realities to one another.
The 2002 debut album, Build A Fort, Set That On Fire, featured one of Morocco's premiere vocalists, Nass Marrakesh's Aziz Arradi), dubbed-out techno breakbeats (Japan's Com.A and DJ Shiro the Goodman) and conceptual sound-art (Alejandra & Aeron, I/O). A 2004 incarnation of Nettle consisted of /rupture, Abdel Hak and percussionist Grey Filastine. Filastine played drums mainly two darboukas, and also incorporated tarija, bendir, and metal castanets. Nettle also toured with members (Hamid Batma and Allal Yalla) of Nass El Ghiwane, a legendary Moroccan rock band around since the early 70s.
With its postcolonial themes and diasporic vocabulary, Nettle is a perfect complement to Clayton’s DJ/rupture project, and is featured extensively in his mixes. DJ/rupture came to international prominence with a mix in 2000 titled Gold Teeth Thief, which cut ruthlessly across geographic and stylistic borders. Clayton was born in Boston, but is a longtime resident of Spain. His triple-turntable experiments explore the common ground of dub, hip-hop, breakbeat, dancehall, and Middle Eastern folk, exposing revelatory links between divergent musical genres. He founded Soot Records in 1999 as a ‘strike against geography’.
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