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on 20 May 1999
Simon Reynolds writes as an enthusiast, not a critic. This is, nevertheless, the most intelligent, vivid, comprehensive book I have ever read about the ecstacy culture. I'm a fan of Reynolds' writing - I've actually read all of his works - all highly recommended. What is so special about this book is that it covers the music, the drug and the evolution of the culture with incredible energy and intimacy. I devoured the book. He is also a great writer - he writes sentences that are dense with meaning and really insightful turns of phrase - and every word demands to be read. I have recommended this book to several people and they have all enjoyed it thoroughly. Rather than saying something polite I'll just say "Big Up, geezer. Massive respect! Top stuff!!!!"
If you're interested in rave culture, if the music makes you jump - don't miss this one. It's seriously brilliant!!
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on 17 September 1998
Simon Reynolds is a raver. He readily admits as such, right from the outset of the book. But unlike the biased, sensationalist 20/20 would have you believe of everyone in the scene, he's not simply a drugged-out zombie, living life for the next fix. Mr. Reynolds shares the viewpoint of many ravers today; albeit a perspective which rarely sees the light of day, because its not news-worthy enough. It's all about the music. This book is an exhausting history of electronic, going back to its very roots, all the way to the current teen-sensations The Prodigy, et. al. The book also delves into the darker side of the scene, however; the drugs. It's interesting to note that Reynolds carefully walks the border, never really making explicit his beliefs on drug use. (He's used them, he knows they're bad...but what's his real opinion?) Maybe you can figure it out. This is a definite recommendation if you're even remotely interested in the rave scene, its history, or its current incarnation. Pick it up, but don't expect to get to sleep. My serotonin level got boosted just from reading it :)
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on 1 August 1999
Having just worked my way through the UK publication of this book, alternitavely titled "Energy Flash", I must say that I have been given a decent working history of movement that has become a dominant part of youth culture over the last ten years. But as the author remains a fan (one might even say preacher for) of one particular sub genre of these varied strains of music, his analysis and interpretation often fails to deliver the goods. If Mr. Reynolds were not desperately searching for a modern day incarnation of the late 60's hippy attempt to redefine society through a common musical affinity, he might be willing to accept genres such as ambient, prog. House and the like as valid artistic fields. But since all music must satisfy his need for underground consciousness raising revolt(in this case through a culture that drops out of the mainstream completely a la expressionists of the nineteen twenties)he finds it difficult to accept a music that is merely intended to entice and provide pleasure or rediefne the way we think of musicality. The resulting rejections and arrogant denials of alternatives to the dance till you lose yourself 'ardkore ultimately remain self indulgent and tainted by his wishful myth formation. The further inability to critically question the prescribed goals of this 'ardkore also leaves a strong desire for more discussion. However this is where the text is also the most intriguing. Reynolds with his solid knowledge of the genre manages to pique interest and in my case have led to a renewed desire to search out a truly intelligent discourse on the movement and its consequences. On a final note the obsessive UK-centric approach to the music also wears thin, denying foreign countries their due until they begin to affect the UK scene.
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on 4 January 1999
Reynolds provides an highly-information, excruciatingly detailed view of the history of rave culture and techno music. It's a little indulgent at points with its vivid descriptions of track after track of gabba, jungle and hardcore hits but Reynolds addresses this with a somewhat interesting argument on his website. It hardly dives into any extensive or mind-numbing post-modern lit crit drivel as another reviewer has commented. The book would probably have doubled in size if this had been inserted. He does however intricately monitor the relationship between the music, the political and racial and national climates in which it developed and the drugs that its fans were running on while they listened.
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on 2 September 1998
This is a really lively and provacative book about dance music that goes from its beginnings in the 80s right up to now. Although it has lots of interesting analysis of how drugs affected the music and the scene, it's more focused on the music than anything else. No one else has written about this world as passionately or as clearly as Reynolds has in this book. A few scenes get dealt with too briefly. But I'd definitely recommend it, even if you're just curious about dance music and don't know much about it first hand.
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on 19 November 2015
good read,a time and era now moved on.nothing original has developed musically since rave,techno
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on 12 October 1998
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on 27 October 1998
Filled with annoying postmodern pseudo-english, Generation Ecstasy seems to be written by someone who desperately wants to be thought of as intelligent. It is a common failing among young professional critics. The formula is simple - merely add a sprinkling of words which refer to anything which has nothing to do with the subject at hand, then throw in some meaningless but intellectual-sounding phrases like, "translates into a whole new dialectic," and voila! Instant tripe! Unless you enjoy watching writers contemplate the contemplation of their navel, forget buying this book. Thinkers should avoid it, but people who think that they are thinkers will probably love it.
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I disagree with the second reviewer, although I appreciate what they mean. The topic itself is not necessarily anti-academic surely although it does benefit from the perspective of a fan, which is probably the best way to treat this subject (namechecking Baudrillard hardly helps; i might argue Baurdrillard is not "intellectual" compared to the rigour of CS Peirce?). I don't know if Reynolds does want to create a definite ideology here, or is just riffing out some messy ideas inchoate. London airwaves are, to my mind, more vital crucibles for 'dance music' than American airwaves. I hope the fact the second reviewer is from Colorado did not influence their distaste for the "UK centric" narrative.
As Richie Hawtin has observed, Europe has a more intimate relationship with techno and other 'dance' forms...
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on 24 June 1999
I'd have to agree with the above reviewer about Reynolds' annoying pseudo-intellectual speak. This guy obviously just read Baudrillard's _Simulacra and Simulacram_ one night while wasted and thinks that any throwing around polysyllabic nonsense qualifies one as an intellectual. (Really, we're dealing with a somewhat anti-intellectual topic here.)
Nevertheless, this is all from the perspective of someone older who should know better. If I was 19 again, I would probably love this book, and the attention to detail is very impressive. The accompanying CD is a very well-thought anthology of the scene. Who wouldn't like to go back to the days when this was all fresh, before techno music was on Sprite commercials with every bonehead feeling the need to bring glo-sticks to the club?
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