In our new quarterly reading list, we select some of our favourite non-Velocity Press books. From the latest music writing releases to club culture classics, we’ve got your reading list sorted. Here are our spring recommendations…
Following Amapiano’s explosion out of Johannesburg across the world over 2020-2021 there’s no denying that contemporary African electronic sounds are a truly global force in club culture.
A Quick Ting on Afrobeats tracks the spread of the Afrobeats sub-genres from the African continent to the musical centre of the western world.
As much a study about travel, migration and diaspora as it is a chronicle of a rich electronic music scene, this is the first book dedicated to Afrobeats and worth reading if you’re interested in all corners of electronic music.
Flip the Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop
Flip the Script aims to do exactly that, and invert what you think you know about UK Hip-Hop, bringing the women behind the scene to the forefront.
The book tells the stories of the original pioneers who pushed through gender barriers to contribute to early UK hip-hop, and the women still driving the scene and sound forward today.
Told by writer, editor and Hip-hop head Arusa Qureshi, Flip The Script is the essential chronicle of female artists in UK Hip-Hop, both past and present.
Dancing In The Streets: A History Of Collective Joy
Dancing in the Streets highlights how mass-participation community dances are a key element of European culture that pre-dates the Love Parade and Thunderdome. From the 16th century, European writers and academics began to espouse the notion that mass community dances were somehow ‘savage’ or ‘uncivilized’.
By unearthing how mask-making, dancing and carnival culture crop up throughout European history, Dancing in the Streets challenges the idea that mass community dances are somehow non-European, and instead suggests the continent has been raving, in one form or another, for centuries.
From European EBM to New York electro-funk, hip-hop and Detroit techno, Kraftwerk’s influence extends across sub-genres. While many of their stylistic cues are now concepts common to music made from machines (and music made for moving to) many of their approaches were groundbreaking at the time.
Computer World uses their 1981 album of the same name as a lens through which to unpack this and unbolts the sounds, concepts and artistic obsessions from which they constructed their tunes. If you’re keen to get a deeper insight into the machine music that started it all get stuck into Computer World, one of the latest instalments in the well-respected music writing series 331/3,
Ocean of Sound: Ambient Sound and Radical Listening in the Age of Communication
One of Pitchfork’s 60 top music books, Ocean of Sounds comments on the work of seminal electronic artists from throughout the 20th century, like Brian Eno and Kraftwerk, to create a surreal sonic history of ambient sound and electronics.
A collage of interviews, criticism, history, and memories, Troop’s writing slides together to help the modern listener better understand how and why the act of listening, and the way in which we listen, can be radical in itself.
It’s common for listeners to describe their first time hearing techno in a club as an escapist experience comparable to entering another world. Techno Worlds is an attempt to chart this world through a collection of writing and photography.
Techno Worlds not only explores the key artistic components that combine to form Techno, but also explores the historical and social factors that have brought the musical form, and its various sub-genres, into existence.
The book also reflects on Techno clubs as spaces in which conventions of identity and gender are challenged and arenas where art, philosophy, pop culture, media consumption and technology converge.
The End-Of-the-Century Party: Youth, Pop and the Rise of Madchester
After its recent 40th anniversary party in the basement of the building which used to house the Hacienda, there has never been a better time to re-examine the legendary club’s legacy from a fresh perspective.
By burrowing into the creative scene that had been brewing in Manchester for over a decade prior to the second summer of love, the book goes further than reciting Madchester’s stylistic cues and some well-worn anecdotes. It situates the movement as only one rich chapter in the history of youth culture and the city’s creative heritage.
There’s certainly no shortage of writing about Manchester’s role as UK acid house ground zero, but The End of the Century Party looks at the city’s contribution to dance culture from a more nuanced angle and rejects the notion it was merely loved-up conformism.
The intricate flyers of London-based designers like Junior Tomlin are the most well-known examples of 90s rave flyers as a form of functional art. But If you’re interested in flyer art from the other side of the Atlantic, Antenne publishing has complied several full-colour books of rave flyers from the US, including this one from the San Francisco scene.
From New York to Los Angeles there are a wide range of flyer collections to trawl through. More than just artefacts that can be appreciated from an aesthetic angle, these collections of flyers help the reader build a mental picture of the events they used to promote.
If you’re into rave memorabilia, keep an eye out for our upcoming title Members Only, a compendium of membership card designs from the golden era of UK clubland.
Transcendent Waves: How Listening Shapes Our Creative Lives
From lo-fi hip-hop study mixes on Youtube to curated ambient playlists for working to, we seem more intent on working to music than ever. Transcendent Waves is a written attempt to demystify the relationship between what we’re listening to and what work we can create or produce while doing so.
If you’ve ever been curious as to why you feel inspired when working while listening to particular sounds, Transcendent Waves may be able to give you some answers. A compilation of illustrated meditations, scientific research, anecdotes and thoughtful prompts, this is a book to get you thinking about new perspectives sound can bring to your work and creative practice.