Boston-born/Barcelona-residing Jace Clayton may take you around the musical globe with his debut effort, but he definitely does not beat around the bush. Special Gunpowder is live and direct, a jab to the solar plexus that may make you see stars, or even the future of popular music (though that claim has been made way too many times before).
Rupture has a kaleidoscopic, distorted vision of music that utterly captivates and moves you. It’s a discordant world sound that would never find itself on a mellow Putumayo compilation. Clayton joins the likes of Krush and Vadim in taking disparate influences and blending them with distorted, hardcore beats. He mines dancehall, dub, spoken word and straight-up noise into an intoxicating blend that is edgy, yet somehow accessible and enjoyable.
“Taqasim” is an Arabic hip-hop instrumental that is absolutely phenomenal. Equally fantastic is “Mosquito,” a minimalist Latin house-y jam that left me hitting repeat until I got metacarpal tunnels. There’s a lot of industrial-sounding dancehall, like “Little More Oil” with Sister Nancy, “Flop We” with Junior Cat and “Dem Nuh Know Me” with Wayne Lonesome, that provides a whole new take on that old genre. You could almost consider him a Krush of dancehall. “Je Suis Le Peuple Sans Visage” with Arnaud Michniak would make RZA proud. He even throws in some spoken word with Elizabeth Alevander (“Overture: Watermelon City”) and some nice melancholia with Lily on “Lonesome Side” and Sindhu Zagoren on “Mole in the Ground.”
While all these disparate influences seem to promise a schizophrenic musical experience, Special Gunpowder is impressively cohesive. Rupture has a clear, distinct style that is a bit dark, yet incurably infectious. Incredibly unique, like M.I.A., it is somehow easily accessible and eminently pleasurable. This album is a real treat that does not disappoint.