Jace Clayton's Enkutatash: Homeland Security Threat Levels As Ethiopian Song
Jace Clayton's 'Enkutatash' performance in DC interprets homeland security threat levels as Ethiopian song for the Ethiopian New Year.
A deeply inquisitive and ingenious artistic force, Jace Clayton a.k.a. the Brooklyn-based DJ /rupture is at it again with his latest sound experiment. Enkutatash, which takes its name from the Ethiopian New Year may be Clayton’s most socially important and musically thrilling project to date. Taking place this September 11th (the day of Enkutatash) as part of the 5x5 Festival in DC, Enkutatash turns the color-coded threat alarms of America’s Homeland Security Advisory System into a score based on the Ethiopian five-note scale, effectively transforming the frightening into the beautiful. To be sung in unison by DC a capella choirs joined by the audience, the piece spans the nine years (2002-2011) of the national alarms in just 45 minutes (every note is a threat level and every day is a second). Clayton’s own rendition of an East African harvest song featuring the masinqo (a type of lute) will also be performed. The first chill of fall is soon coming, but Clayton is taking the jubilee outdoors, setting up shop in a vast, wood-decked space (which you can peep above). More than a live performance, Enkutatash will also bounce the “global booty beats” of Anthology of Booty, DC’s all-female DJ group, and will serve up vegetarian Ethiopian dishes in honor of the holiday. Like Clayton’s past endeavors, Enkutatash seeks to both engage and inspire, confronting fears while pushing through them.
To make the wait easier, Clayton has dropped a new mix under his DJ /rupture name. Opening with some fuzzed-out, sharp whips and featuring everything from a Kendrick Lamar sample to the brooding horns of Colin Stetson, “Loops in the 24-hr News Cycle” is Flying Lotus eeriness, J Dilla inventiveness, and pure DJ/Rupture joy. Listen on below, and download the mix here.