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Books about music

Dick Hebdige - Tim Lawrence - music journalism - Simon Reynolds - David Toop

Love Saves the Day (2004) - Tim Lawrence [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Music [...]

  1. Last Night a DJ saved My Life [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    From the first time a record was played over the airwaves in 1906, to a modern club economy that totals $3 billion annually in New York City alone, the DJ has been at the center of popular music. Starting as little more than a talking jukebox, the DJ is now a premier entertainer, producer, businessman, and musician in his own right. Superstar DJs, from Junior Vasquez to Sasha and Digweed, command worship and adoration from millions, flying around the globe to earn tens of thousands of dollars for one night's work. Increasingly, they are replacing live musicians as the central figures of the music industry. In Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, music journalists Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have written the first comprehensive history of the mysterious and charismatic figure behind the turntables -- part obsessive record collector, part mad scientist, part intuitive psychologist of the party groove. From England's rabid Northern Soul scene to the birth of disco in New York, from the sound systems of Jamaica to the scratch wars of early hip-hop in the Bronx, from Chicago house to Detroit techno to London rave, DJs are responsible for most of the significant changes in music over the past forty years. Drawing on in-depth interviews with DJs, critics, musicians, record executives, and the revelers at some of the century's most legendary parties, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is nothing less than the life story of dance music.

  2. Ocean of Sound (1995) - David Toop [Amazon.com]
    A member of a radical editorial collective on the cutting edge of British music criticism in the 1970s, later a critic for more standard papers, including the Times, David Toop'S second book covers a vast expanse of music. His tour-de-force survey describes a dissonant and invigorating clash of music and noise from western classical to Javanese gamelan, from Claude Debussy to Miles Davis to Brian Eno, from disco to techno to ambient. He discusses the changes in our sound world caused by the global reach of radio and recordings, and shows himself a rigorous pluralist, open to all styles and forms, but unafraid to offer robust criticism in any musical sphere.

  3. Cut 'N' Mix: Culture, Identity, and Caribbean Music - Dick Hebdige [Amazon.com]
    Dick Hebdige in his book, "Cut 'N' Mix" described Jamaican 'toasting' as when the Jamaican disc jockies talked over the music they played. This style developed at dances in Jamaica known as "blues dances". "Blues dances" were dances which took place in large halls or out in the open in the slum yards. "Blues dances" were a regular feature of ghetto life in Jamaica. At these dances black America R&B records were played. Jamaicans were introduced to these records by black American sailors stationed on the island and by American radio stations in and around Miami which played R&B records.

    Some favorite R&B artists were Fats Domino, Amos Melburn, Louis Jordan, and Roy Brown. There was a great demand for the R&B type of music, but unfortunately there were no local Jamaican bands which could play this type of music as well as the black American artists. As a result, 'sound systems' (comprised of DJs, roadies, engineers, bouncers) which were large mobile discotheques were set up to meet this need.

    Consider the rapid growth of both recorded and performed music based on digital sampling, cutting and mixing. Many hip-hop musicians have dissected existing recorded music, sampling it, quoting it, and transforming it into their own recordings – recordings that are in turn the basis for other participants to subsequently sample, dissect, and construct new meanings. In turn, the “performance” of recorded music that is the domain of “DJ culture” is predicated upon the “live” dissection, manipulation and re-assembly of previously (and usually commercially) recorded music, weaving it into new creative texts. --William Uricchio

  4. Disco (1978) - Albert Goldman [Amazon.com]

    A brilliant view of all that disco represented in the 70s - the explosion of sound, light, rhythm, drugs, clubs, celebrities and lifestyles of an era. For Goldman, discomania was just another outburst of what he called 'the buried life' - the underground tradition of primitive tribal religious rites, the Greek dionysiac cults and bacchanals. He therefore considered disco as a manifestation of the dancing sickness or the ever-renewing quest for ecstacy and transcendence. The difference with the rock experience was that the dancers themselves became the stars, instead of the performers up on stage. Goldman describes the scene from the perspective of a psychologist, sociologist, musicologist, anthropologist and participant, and it is this last view which makes this book such and excellent and highly readable document of an era. He talks about the personalities, the clubs, the producers and the music in an intelligent but engaging, almost chatty style. Disco genres and musicians like Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Cerrone, Alec Castandinos, Kraftwerk, Meco and others, and the Saturday Night Fever phenomenon. The black & white photographs enhance the enjoyment of reading, and the middle section holds stunning colour pics of disco fever in action, celebrities and musicians like Grace Jones. I think Goldman has succeeded well in preserving a lively and cinematic record of a happy era. It's also interesting to discover the roots of the techno-rave movement in these pages. Of course, the abundant varieties of today's House music have not only their roots, but their spirit as well, in good old disco. a reader for amazon.com

  5. Extended Play : Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein - John Corbett [Amazon.com]
    The reasons for Corbett's increasing prominence among music writers become crystal-clear in his debut collection of articles. Although he writes authoritatively, he never loses a fan's sense of awe. He describes the impact of a wide variety of players, including P-Funk architect George Clinton, dub reggae maestro Lee ("Scratch") Perry, Dutch free-improv drummer Han Bennink, and Siberian overtone singer Sainkho Namtchylak. His profiles of such legendary musicians as Sun Ra (especially) are insightful, and several of his interview transcriptions--including one derived from a game Corbett invented for John Cage to randomly choose his own questions--are historically valuable. And in the theoretical chapters of the book's first part, Corbett often uses seemingly innocuous pop archetypes--such as the backup singer--to comment on the political and social forces that shape modern culture. For all listeners. Aaron Cohen

  6. Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound - Iara Lee [Amazon.com]
    In this expansive history of electronic music, Shapiro (The Rough Guide to Drum `n' Bass) chronicles the creative moment of generating sound through sampling, mixing, and manipulation. Written by musicians and aficionados, the articles assembled here form a fascinating account of innovators from John Cage to Miles Davis, thoroughly exploring this sprawling genre and its musical offshoots. Densely packed and meticulously detailed, the book makes some startling geographic and stylistic leaps in an effort to trace the comprehensive history of electronic music. Through interviews, vivid pictures, and crisp commentary, it illustrates how electronic music is now at work in the majority of today's musical styles. This work, a tie-in to Iara Lee's 1998 film of the same name, explores in greater detail some of the same ground covered in J.M. Kelly's The Rough Guide to Techno Music (2000). An essential tool for anyone interested in this music, whether mildly or deeply. -- Caroline Dadas
    [with contributions from David Toop, Peter Shapiro, Kodwo Eshun, ... and interviews with Arthur Baker, Derrick May, Holger Czukay, etc ... ] [...]

  7. David Toop - Rap Attack 3 [Amazon.com]
    I find it incredible that this affluent and priviledged white male with a two hundred thousand dollar education could possibly know so much about hip-hop. Of course no one should take seriously his claim that this is in some way a 'risky' undertaking, especially from a well-paid academic. Still, Potter knows his stuff, is capable of taking in a great variety of the cultural discourse surrounding hip-hop and making sense of it (at least sometimes). I suppose this is just the kind of dull-as-driftwood analysis of a vibrant musical culture, but, as he points out, what else did you expect from an academic? I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to be conversant in everything hip-hop; just try not to sound like a rich white guy worshipping at the fount of Black creativitiy, won't you? -- A reader from California

  8. The Rough Guide to House Music by Sean Bidder [Amazon.com]
    Rough Guides presents a unique, pocket handbook to the world's most incessant dancefloor groove, featuring all the key players and hottest labels from the music's disco roots and Chicago birth, to its Acid House manifestation and world-wide diversification. Focuses on the origins of the music and its central sub-genres: acid house, garage, deep house, and progressive house. Includes career biographies of more than 160 producers, artists and DJs, and discographies for each entry, reviewing the best available on vinyl and CD. Black-and-white photos.
  9. Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music (2002) - Sean Bidder [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Pump Up the Volume tells the story of the social and cultural explosion that was House. From its roots in Chicago, where it rose from the ashes of Disco, House music became the soundtrack to every fashion show, after–show party, premiere, and club opening around the world. Today, House is used by leading mainstream music stars, from Madonna to U2, to break into new markets and to update their sound. In fact, House has influenced more artists than any style since rock ‘n’ roll. Pump Up the Volume follows the story from Chicago and New York to Britain, interviewing key players on both sides of the Atlantic. It also considers the social impact of House — a sound that has transcended class, race, and cultural boundaries to become the soundtrack of modern popular culture. --From the Publisher

    Sean Bidder
    Sean Bidder is a writer working in London. A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines including The Independent, Dazed & Confused, The Big Issue, Seven and URB, Sean has also written two books, The Rough Guide To House and Pump Up The Volume, the second of which accompanied a Channel 4 documentary of the same title. Sean's latest project is a new quarterly music and arts magazine called FACT. The size of a 7-inch single, the magazine comes in its own record sleeve and features contributions from the likes of Trevor Jackson, Toby Tripp, Rough Trade and Artrockers. In his spare time, Sean co-runs a club night called Overrated.

  10. The Rough Guide to Reggae by Steve Barrow[Amazon.com]
    Finally, a comprehensive guide covering the entire span of Jamaican music, from the 1950s mento and R&B through dub, dancehall and ragga. Along with interviews of crucial reggae personalities (Bunny Lee, King Jammy, and Coxsone Dodd, for example) and profiles of major careers (like Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, and of course, Bob Marley), Barrow and Dalton provide the irreplaceable service of reviewing and recommending more than 1,000 CD and vinyl selections. The writers clearly love their topic and are exceedingly knowledgeable about it. The resulting guide is a combination of fascinating historical tidbits, scholarly attention to musical detail, and a definitive treatment of reggae's genre, artists, albums, and songs. --Stephanie Gold

  11. Goldmine Record Album Price Guide (Goldmine Record Album Price Guide, 2nd Edition) [Amazon.com]
    Within this comprehensive guide collectors will find more albums listed individually than any other price guide available. Coverage includes releases from the beginning of American LP manufacture in 1948 through 2000 with 50,000 listings in up to three grades of condition.

  12. music journalists authors and articles that have inspired me

  13. The Mojo Collection - The Mojo Collection: The Greatest Albums of All Time[1 book, Amazon US]
    From the first commercially issued vinyl LP--The Voice of Frank Sinatra (1946)--to key recordings of the late 1990s by the likes of Beck, Lauryn Hill, and Madonna, this astonishing book presents over six hundred of the most enduring and important albums ever recorded. MOJO--the U.K.'s leading rock magazine--has commissioned over forty of the country's most respected music journalists to select these albums and reassess their significance and place them in the pantheon of popular music. In each instance the journalist has created new and original reviews, interviewing many of the people involved in the recording--artists, engineers, producers, and songwriters--and offering fresh insight into why these albums remain classics. In addition, The MOJO Collection features extended essays on selected genres: "The Easy Life"--lounging and collecting the music it spawned; "The Single Life"--reggae, the music that didn't believe in the album; "100 Great Soundtracks"--music to watch flms by; "100 Great Compilations"--the best of the best ofs. Offering a unique history of the evolution of the LP, The MOJO Collection is an essential purchase for anyone who loves music.

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