First Floor started small. At first it was just a newsletter, an outlet where veteran electronic music journalist Shawn Reynaldo could write and share his ideas without having to contend with outside editors or cater to social media algorithms. It was a blank canvas, and Reynaldo began to fill it with his extended thoughts on not just electronic music itself but the culture and industry that surrounded it.
His first few missives went out to only a handful of people, but as the months went by and his writings increasingly became a focal point of discussions within the wider electronic music world, Reynaldo came to a surprising realisation: people were actually reading this thing.
Just a few years later, First Floor now stands as one of electronic music’s most influential platforms, particularly as Reynaldo continues to put many of the genre’s thorniest issues under the microscope. First Floor Volume 1 collects his most thought-provoking pieces and provides a nuanced, wide-ranging look at contemporary electronic music culture as it comes to grips with systemic challenges and a time of profound transformation.
Whether he’s taking a hard look at the genre’s futurist ethos, questioning the practices of the modern music press or mapping out what motivates dance music’s newest generation, Reynaldo applies an undeniably critical lens, but his words are informed by decades of experience, a genuine passion for the subject matter and an open-minded outlook toward whatever changes lie ahead.
“Shawn is at the forefront of critical thinking and analysis of the greater electronic music industry. His thoughtful and often emotional opinions of issues within our scene are balanced by years of experience and a talent for zooming out to articulate thoughts from a wider perspective. In addition, Shawn’s understanding of our scene’s transition from its early DIY roots to its current status as a global juggernaut place him in an important position to help bridge the gap between generations and pose important questions that all of us should be thinking about.” Richie Hawtin
“For anyone who cares about electronic music, Shawn Reynaldo’s First Floor is essential reading. (In fact, it’s the only newsletter that I have a paid subscription to.) Shawn brings decades of engagement in the scene – as a journalist but also radio broadcaster, club DJ, and record label co-founder – to offer a nuanced and wide-ranging overview of the issues affecting the scene today, from the economics of independent musicianship to the structural precarity of the music media. Shawn pulls no punches—he’s not afraid to be critical about topics or institutions that others fear to discuss publicly – but his tough-love approach is always undergirded by just that: love. You won’t find a more passionate advocate for underground electronic music’s history and future.” Philip Sherburne (Pitchfork)
“Shawn is a rare and salient thinker, and First Floor is just great reporting and great criticism. Shawn’s insightful, powerful and funny voice touches on the most interesting corners of electronic music and all its tendrils, both behind the scenes and public-facing, from the underground to the mainstream.” Avalon Emerson
“The electronic music landscape is mutating at a pace that’s sometimes hard to grasp, and First Floor is as candid a reflection on that turbulence as you could hope to read from someone who has put love and time into every corner of the field. The writing is honest and self-questioning yet leaves room for curiosity and optimism, and as such puts words to what no doubt many are quietly feeling.” Mat Dryhurst (Interdependence)