The first decades of the 21st century saw dramatic changes in the music industry as new technology transformed creation, communication, and consumption. Amid this turmoil one change occurred relatively quietly, almost naturally: so-called bedroom producers, music makers raised on hip-hop and electronic music, went from anonymous, often unseen creators to artists in their own right.
In Bedroom Beats & B-sides: Instrumental Hip Hop & Electronic Music at the Turn of the Century, Laurent Fintoni details the rise of a new generation of bedroom producers at the turn of the century through the stories of various instrumental hip-hop and electronic music scenes. From trip-hop, jungle, illbient, and IDM in the 1990s to just “beats” in the late 2000s, the book explores how these scenes acted as incubators for new ideas about composition and performance that are now taken for granted.
Combining social, cultural, and musical history with extensive research, the book tells the B-side stories of hip-hop and electronic music from the 1990s to the 2010s and explores the evolution of a modern beat culture from local scenes to a global community via the diverse groups of fringe idealists who made it happen and the external forces that shaped their efforts.
Includes quotes and stories drawn from more than 100 interviews with producers, DJs, label owners, and more including James Lavelle, Charlie Dark, Luke Vibert, Mark Pritchard, Flying Lotus, Georgia Anne Muldrow, El-P, Hudson Mohawke, Kode9, Prefuse 73, Anti Pop Consortium, Dabrye, Waajeed, Tekilatex, Ghislain Poirier, Kutmah, LuckyMe, Benji B, The Bug, and many more.
Bedroom Beats & B-sides is the first comprehensive history of the instrumental hip-hop and electronic scenes and a truly global look at a thirty-year period of modern music culture based on a decade of research and travel across Europe, North America, and Japan.
Laurent Fintoni says: “Bedroom Beats & B-sides is a deeply personal project that has consumed me for over 20 years. I hope it can do some justice to the vibrancy and importance of the culture it seeks to celebrate and its people. I am grateful to Velocity Press for taking a chance on me as a first-time author and giving me space and support to tell the first, but hopefully not the last, version of this story.”
“Laurent Fintoni has created an epic tome of information. It’s one of the best examples of connecting the dots between many facets of electronic music. He writes similar to a DJ seamlessly transitioning from one point to the other, with visual vigour. Not since Kwodo Eshun’s More Brilliant Than The Sun, has someone delved this deep between the beats.”
“As hip-hop has erupted over four decades to become the dominant genre of the 2020s, this work casts essential analysis on an influential set of producers who rose from obscurity to influence pop culture. It’s a story of changes in music technology and musical education, but crucially of how a small set of outsiders sought to hack, adapt, and break their technology in pursuit of making something expressive and new. In appropriation of tech and genre, the beat scene is a worthy analogue to consider a culture facing the failures of postmodernism, and the opportunities of a new age in media.”
Dominic Flannigan (LuckyMe)
“Finally a deep dive into one of the more interesting new musical trajectories of the modern era.”
Sam Valenti IV (Ghostly)
“The music industry was caught looking the other way, head in the sand, handing out golden parachutes. In the used bins we would marvel at their trash, what they couldn’t sink their teeth into, upcycling it in our way.”
Joel Pearson (verified owner) –
Laurent Fintoni’s Bedroom Beats and B-Sides draws together seemingly disparate narratives of hip-hop and electronic music culture into a coherent patchwork, the edges of which extend far out into the distance, like the tendrils of a funky plant reaching right across the planet. Primarily focusing on the trans-Atlantic connection between the UK and USA, the book covers seminal artists, releases, labels and club nights – notably the likes of Warp Records, Mo Wax, Low End Theory and the Dilla/Madlib connection – drawing from 100+ interviews and guided by Fintoni’s own experiences with the scenes and artists discussed. Each section in the book is headed by a track ID, so you can explore relevant musical examples as you read, and the footnotes are often illuminating. Fintoni generally does a good job of addressing sex/ism and race/ism both within the music industry as well as in the discourse around it, though when he makes the claim that, “At its root beat culture is Black and Brown and queer culture,” he does little to account for queer influence on or contribution to the music. On the whole, this is a comprehensive work, covering over 20 years of music culture in surprising detail in just 350 pages, making it my favourite book yet from Velocity Press.