Electronic Music Books for Xmas 2019
The gift that keeps on giving
Giving the gift of books is giving endless joy, learning and re-learning – never a bad choice, and where these electronic music books are concerned, you'll be the first pick for esoteric dance music pub quizzes in your area. Understanding how genres, styles, figures and cultures emerged and were shaped by music isn't just important, it's vital to understanding how we got here and where we're going as an electronic music scene. These books will do that and more. Kick back and dig in.
Writer, journalist and DJ mag pal Matt Anniss’s new book is dedicated to all things sub, exploring the origins of bleep techno in the UK. Matt "traces the roots, origins, development and legacy of the sound that started it all: the first distinctively British form of electronic dance music". One for the heads. Pick it up here.
Another UK-focussed tale of a genre – It’s a London Thing takes a deep dive into black music culture, the people who made it and how it changed both music and society. "It tells the story of the linked Black musical scenes of the city, from ska, reggae and soul in the 1970s, to rare groove and rave in the 1980s and jungle and its offshoots in the 1990s, to dubstep and grime of the 2000s." An important story told in-depth.
Norman Jay MBE is an MBE for a reason – the man is a legend. If you don’t believe us, it’s in the title of his memoir: Mister Good Times: The Enthralling Life Story of a Legendary DJ. From his early days growing up as part of the Windrush Generation in West London to becoming one of the UK’s most influential broadcaster, his story is indeed enthralling – another vital one for any music fan.
Dan Hancox’s in-depth book charts the rise, fall, and rise again of grime, from 2010 to the present day, from the early days of low bit-rate MP3s to political movements and chart and mainstream domination. A vital story for fans of all genres.
Definitely a niche subject matter – Push Turn Move explores interface design in electronic music instruments, from ARP2600 and other classic synths to plugins and controllers – and how our interaction with their design breeds creativity. A solid coffee table option, at a coffee table price point.
Journalist Joe Muggs tracks the history of soundsystem culture and what he calls "the most important influence on contemporary pop music since rock and roll.” With interviews with everyone from Skream, Shy One and of course Norman Jay MBE, their stories are complemented with rich photos from photographer Brian David Stevens.
Originally pressed by Bill Brewster’s DJHistory.com, The Disco Files is a collection of articles from Vince Aletti. Drawing on Aletti’s articles for Record World, it’s a week-by-week account of disco as it happened – the parties, the records and the people. The first press was fetching silly numbers on the second-hand market, but it was repressed last year so is now fairly reasonable. Definitely one for the anoraks, but a vital slice of music history all the same.
This super popular book is filled with tutorials and walkthroughs across tonnes of genres and styles, from how to create a classic house drum pattern, or mixing and mastering for the club. A handy reference guide for beginners and pros alike.
Though it was first published in 2013, and re-pressed many times since, Energy Flash is a classic book from one of music’s most celebrated journalists. Charting the tale of early rave’s origins, through Chicago, Detroit, Ibiza, Manchester, London and beyond, the latest edition is updated to cover the emergence of dubstep and EDM’s explosion. Should be on the shelf of every dance music fan.
When Haçienda resident and all-round DJing legend Dave Haslam sold his entire record collection to Seth Troxler – a collection he started in the ’70s – he "couldn't have predicted what happened next." His new book charts the meaning and emotion behind vinyl records, and the stories we lend to each one.