A short selection of music books to add to your reading list
This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division
Joy Division emerged in Manchester during the mid-70s, at the start of a two-decade long period and scene that has since become almost mythical in status. Expertly curated by Jon Savage, the book is an oral history – told by the people who were there during the meteoric rise of one of the most exciting bands of their generation. Featuring interviews with band members along with insights from Tony Wilson, Paul Morley, Deborah Curtis and Peter Saville, Savage has assembled material from 3 decades worth to tell the story of how a band resurrected a city, and came together in circumstances that were both accidental and extraordinary. A classic story of how young men armed with electric guitars and good taste can change the world with four chords and three-and-a-half minutes of music. And of how illness and demons can rob the world of a visionary lyricist.
Massive Attack: Out Of The Comfort Zone
Dedicated to the history of Massive Attack and their relationship with their home town of Bristol, Melissa Chemam’s in-depth study of the influences that led to the formation of the Wild Bunch and then Massive Attack explores how the city helped shape Trip Hop – one of the most successful and innovative down tempo musical movements of the last 30 years. A city built on the wealth generated by the slave trade, as a port Bristol was also an arrival point for immigrants to the UK: most notably the Windrush generation from the Caribbean in the 1950s.Based on interviews with Robert del Naja (3D) and other key players, the book examines the tensions between the founding members – 3D, Daddy G and Mushroom – their influences, collaborations and politics. Charting the way in which the band opened the door for a whole generation of other artists and musicians to emerge.
Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music
The previously untold story of British dance music’s first sub-bass revolution, Matt Anniss traces the origins, development, impact and influence of bleep techno – and the subsequent musical styles it inspired on UK club culture. A mixture of social, cultural, musical and oral history, Join The Future delves deep into the untold stories of the music’s Yorkshire based pioneers and those that came in their wake. Moving from electro all-dayers and dub soundsystem clashes of the mid-1980s, to the birth of hardcore and jungle in London and the South East, you’ll find first-hand accounts of key clubs and raves. Along with biographies of forgotten and overlooked producers, Anniss looks at how the genre exported itself as far afield as Canada and the United States. As well uncovering the inside story of the early years of Warp Records – one of electronic music’s most iconic labels.
Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime
Drawn from over a decade of in depth interviews and research with key MCs, DJs and industry players, the book tells the remarkable story of how a group of outsiders went on to create a genre that has become a British institution. As Britain celebrated the new millennium back in 2000, something was stirring in the crumbling council estates of inner-city London. Making beats on stolen software, spitting lyrics on block rooftops and beaming out signals from pirate-radio stations, a group of teenagers raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae stumbled upon a dazzling new genre – Grime. Against all odds, these young MCs grew up to become some of the UK’s most famous musicians, scoring number one records and dominating British pop culture for years to come – turning the music industry’s logic on its head.
k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher
Edited by Darren Ambrose
A comprehensive collection that brings together the works of acclaimed blogger, writer, publisher, political activist and lecturer Mark Fisher (aka k-punk) who sadly passed away in 2017. Covering the period 2004 – 2016, the book includes some of the most incendiary and influential posts from his seminal blog, as well as a selection of insightful film, television and music reviews. Together with his writings on politics, activism, precarity, hauntology, mental health and contributions to numerous websites and magazines – it also includes his final unpublished post: the unfinished introduction to his planed book on “Acid Communism”, along with a number of important interviews from the last decade.