World Music Series


NettleNettle: Music for a Nu World
Cultural Collaboration in the Globalized Age
World Music Series Concert: Saturday, March 21, 8:00 PM in Slosberg Recital Hal

Listen to their music

Pre-Concert Talk "Nettles, Neighbors, and Nu World Music"
With Wayne Marshall
Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Ethnomusicology, Brandeis University
7:00-7:45 PM in the Rose Art Museum

Residency Events:March 19-21, 2009 (view schedule)

Nettle is a geography defying project founded by DJ /rupture, involving 4 musicians and a video artist. The group melds superficially disparate genres & instrumentation into textured music that creates a new sense of common-place. Nettle has evolved over the years, but the live shows have remained intimate, beautiful, and challenging. North African folksong, free improvisation, and classical Arabic composition meet digital experimentalism and urban beat production. The band creates a powerful sonic space where the easy fusion of World Music clichés are abandoned for the intricate reality of border-crossing, conflict, and cohabitation. Their sound successfully crosses the acoustic (analog)/digital divide, using real-time sampling.

The Barcelona-based project unites musicians from three continents: Moroccan violin virtuoso Abdel Rahal, Scottish cellist Jenny Jones, American producer Jace Clayton (aka Rupture), and Moroccan gnawa musician Khalid Bennaji on guembri and vocals (in Arabic and Tamazight). The musicians are all 'resident aliens' living in Spain and communicate in Spanish, everyone's second language.

New York visual artist Daniel Perlin works directly with Nettle, creating live cinema through realtime video projections. Using original material and cutting-edge software, Perlin has constructed a series of environments for each song, where the ideas and feelings produced by the audio both infect and effect the video, just as the video completes the visual space of the performance.

The WIRE Magazine described Nettle's potent multimedia mix as "fresh, disruptive. . . dedicated to the shifting street music of North Africa, southern Spain and the wider diaspora."

Nettle has performed across Europe at festivals such as SONAR in Barcelona and Berlin's Transmediale, and have played live twice on BBC 1 radio. Nettle has toured the U.K. with Nass El Ghiwane, one of Morocco's most important musical groups, often referred to as "The Rolling Stones of Africa".

Nettle has released two albums, Build A Fort, Set That On Fire (2002, The Agriculture), and Firecamp Stories: Nettle remixed (2004, The Agriculture).

Their new album, a recording of a live performance in Denmark, is scheduled to be released early 2008.
Nettle is currently planning a Moroccan tour for summer of 2008.

The band's websites:

Review for Jace Clayton's latest project as DJ /Rupture. Critical acclaim as usual --

From DJ Rupture’s (aka Jace Clayton) piece for the New York Fine
Arts Quarterly:

“In addition to my activities as DJ/rupture, I make music as Nettle. Nettle originated in my fascination with the concept of an album heavily influenced by Middle Eastern ideas, but not necessarily at the audible level. I was unsatisfied with the narrative poles of electronic music—loop-based dance pieces or abstract/ambient pieces without storytelling force. A suite of rigorous modal improvisation in Arabic music called taqasims offered the solution: I knew and loved their internal play between free-flowing improv and strict technical guidelines. I spent a year or two translating these ideas into pieces for samplers and laptop. Two albums later I still wasn't satisfied: one-way cultural flows aren't good enough. I wanted community,two-way translations, the squeal of a feedback loop.

Earlier this year I was commissioned by a British arts council to transform Nettle into a proper live ensemble. Violin, oud, percussion, electronics,realtime sampling. I'd been involved in Barcelona's Moroccan music community for a while, but the Nettle project has upped the intensity of collaboration. A few days ago, Nettle's violin and oud player, Abdelaziz Hak, brought up taqasims to explain his response to a beat I'd prepared for him.

I broke into a silly grin.

This is working. We're starting to get under each other's skin.”

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