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Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture [Paperback]

Simon Reynolds
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Aug 1998
This work tells the story of rave culture and explores the origins of this dance music, chronicling the ways in which its reverberations have influenced 1990s pop. Examining the music as well as the drugs, the book traces how Chicago house and Detroit techno catalyzed the rave and "Madchester" ferment of 1988-90, then follows the music into the early-1990s. It surveys the confusion of post-rave styles and scenes: jungle, electronica, drum and bass, trance, trip hop, and Big Beat. The book also looks at the role of Ecstasy in the dance-and-drug culture. It includes interviews with Paul Oakenfold, Derrick May, 808 State, Stone Roses, A Guy Called Gerald, The KLF, Primal Scream, Orbital, The Prodigy, Goldie, 4 Hero, Aphex Twin, Tricky, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin, DJ Shadow and many more. A CD is included, featuring 15 seminal dance tracks from ten years of rave.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (21 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330350560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330350563
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.6 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'...definitive history of rave and what followed has now been to the soundtrack to endless nights of ecstasy.' -- Observer Music Monthly

'...manages to chronicle how rave culture coalesced into being...for the subject is apparently inexhaustible and enjoyably infectious.'
-- The Guardian

'A classic chronicle of the Nineties rave movement . . . Striking and well-reported' -- Rolling Stone

'An exceptional book. Reynolds has tracked the unfolding sounds and rituals of ''the (al)chemical generation'' so comprehensively that he virtually obviates the need for any further literature on the period' -- Mojo

'Crucially, Reynolds concentrates every bit as much on the music itself... as on the culture of people, places and fascinating and informative as it is enthusiastic and entertaining'
-- Q

'This expanded edition of Reynold's brilliant dance music study was first published in book written on rave explosion...' -- Q

'Yields new insights across 424 sharply funny, accessible pages. A great achievement from a world class writer' -- ID

'enthusiasm, passion and knowledge . . . seeps out of every page' -- The Face

`Dance music's defining tome gets a remix.' -- Five stars --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

It’s a remix! Twenty years since acid house and Ecstasy revolutionized pop culture, here’s the expanded and updated version of Simon Reynolds’ landmark history of rave. Containing substantial new material covering dance-music developments in the ten years since its original publication, Energy Flash is now even more definitive. Blending vivid reporting, probing research and passionate opinion in the style of his acclaimed post-punk history Rip It Up and Start Again, Reynolds guides the reader on a thrilling journey from the druggy daze of Ibiza and Madchester via London’s gritty pirate-radio culture of jungle and garage to the elegantly wasted clubland of contemporary Berlin. From trance to 2step, microhouse to grime, electro to dubstep, Reynolds tracks the scenes and sounds that have kept electronic music at the vanguard of pop culture. Now more essential and authoritative than ever, Energy Flash is the classic chronicle of rave’s quest for the perfect beat and the ultimate rush. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Although Simon Reynolds ends the book with his personal theory that a music genres relevance is directly proportional to the amount of books written about it, dance music isn't yet at this point. Unlike rock n roll, this music has not been culturally dissected and mummified in a museum somewhere. There is much to suggest that this is now taking place but Simon Reynolds efforts will stand head & shoulders above the others in this field.
Firstly, it is written from an enthusiasts point of view and this comes screaming out of the books text at all points. His style is easy going and clever, with enough musical references to delight the most anal of trainspotters.
Reynolds focusses on dance music in the UK, from its birth as imported street music, to the first British attempts at house music, getting it wrong and creating a musical hybrid which ends up becoming drum n bass. For someone who was round in the early nineties when much of this was going on, this is a tremendously exciting book which covers a creative period which most dance music hipsters are loathe to even recognise (although this is now changing and hardcore is being given the credit it deserves).
A free CD comes with the book showing the evolution from house to drum n bass over the course of around ten years and makes an ideal companion to the book, especially for those of us who didn't bother to buy the records the first time around.
A joy and a pleasure for anyone with even a passing interest in this subject.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Simon Reynolds - Energy Flash (Picador) Watch out, this interactive book is a time bomb supercharged with music, history, interviews and...a CD! Yeah, that's why it's interactively cool! Simon Reynolds, historiographer of the musiquarium of the last twenty years brings you in a journey through the places and the records of all times. From the Chicago house and gay black scene and the techno and black scene in Detroit to the Ecstasy scene of Ibiza and then the British scene. Everything might sound rather the same of what you have already read in Collin' s book, but this book goes further, since it describes even the equipment often used and it stops to brood on other scenes such as the hardcore scene, the techno scene (with precious flashes on Belgium and Germany), the spiral tribe movement, the ambient and trance, the pirate radios and their hip MCs, the jungle and gabba fever with its raves at Rezerection, the rave scene in the States, trip hop and Tricky, drum and bass, jazz jungle and Roni Size closing with technostep, sampladelia, post rave fringe in Germany, the spirituality intrinsic in the E culture and the Big Beat. An encyclopaedia of music, criticism and history with an amazingly good discography and with a CD featuring Joey Beltram' s "Energy Flash", Sonz of A Loop Da Loop Era's "Bust That Groove" and 4Hero's "The Elements" among others. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well structured history of acid house 15 Jan 2004
If you are at all interested in the history of electronic music, this book will grab your attention very early on, although I did feel that a lot of the author's terminology was somewhat over my head. It is an in depth and honest account of UK Rave, going into detail about the high points of acid house culture, the roots of techno, the dark side of the scene, and the varios genres that were created after the downfall of the free parties.
The covermount CD is a collection of important, genre-defining tracks, and is excellent in itself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious trip - but it's a heady one... 18 Mar 2008
By Mr. Steve Jansen VINE VOICE
An exhaustively researched, and extremely insightful book that chronicles the evolution of darn near every genre and sub-genre of dance - from Detroit to dubstep.

Despite the dire cover, which pointlessly signposts this as belonging over at the gurning end of the shelf, Energy Flash contains some brilliantly inventive prose, which Reynolds employs with apparent ease, maintaining your interest as the dna of dance morphs through its myriad remixes.

Written as an overarching analysis of rave, rather than just dance music, Energy Flash also builds into a record of how the entire movement has, and continues to, act as a potent - but not always positive - force for creative, social and political change.

Reynolds is expertly adept at evoking the moods of the time, and specific scenes, and is at his most effective - and sometimes unsettling - as the music and its audience warp symbiotically into places as gritty, hard and dark as the music often becomes.

In recording this simultaneous evo/devo-lution, the author also reflects on the longtail of contemporary drug use, following each new wave of incoming ravers towards their own conclusions. Some peel off to birth slower, more sedate scenes; others chase down some majorly unsavoury damage as they stay the course; but all are united in pursuing their own brand of accelerated experience - all enticed by a beat, and that opening, crashing (but long since faded) buzz surrounding Ecstacy and the promises of an MDMA-altered state.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Describes the indescribeable sound of dance music much better than...
Describing songs with lyrics is not too hard but dance music is and Simon Reynolds succeeds very well with this book - so much so that I actually listen to dance music in a... Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2010 by Swampy
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly informative but not objective enough
Simon Reynolds' "Energy Flash" is one of the most frequently prescribed accounts of modern dance music and culture. Read more
Published on 10 July 2009 by D. Moss
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive work on Dance and Dance culture
I bought this on the strength of `Rip it up and Start Again' Simon Reynolds's wonderful discourse on post punk, it did not disappoint. Read more
Published on 10 April 2009 by zolaczakl1348
5.0 out of 5 stars Energy Flashed!
The book is simply an individuals view on their experience of certain periods of time, i laughed and not mockingly at the authors fantastic poetic descriptions of sound in its many... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2004 by J Smith
I kind of missed the whole rave scene but after reading this book wish that i hadn't! It sounded amazing...I am now reformed... Read more
Published on 4 Oct 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and enjoyable
An impressive amount of research must have gone into this book, it's ennormous. The writing is very much music journalism --- lots of obscure references and more hyphens then you... Read more
Published on 23 Sep 1999 by
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written overview of UK/US dance music
simon reynold's book takes you through all the radical changes in musical style, drug use, drug quality and fashion that have taken place since the eighties. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 1998
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