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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinda like the opposite of The Bible,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)Julian Cope has paid due care and attention to his Head Heritage base of operations since its early, humble mail-away days and 'Copendium' is one of many impressive results worth checking up on.
Since getting hooked-up each month to feature a Drudion Julian has also reviewed an album of the month, some brand new, others decades old with no pre-requisites on genre, style or length. All of them are compiled here in alphabetical order, each decade featuring a small introduction to the period.
This material is all ready and available to peruse on Head Heritage, but the mere finger ache of scrolling down through endless obscure and, sometimes, unattractive album covers is a daunting enough task without the miles of backlit text to rummage through. With 'Copendium' everything's available and 'loaded' without the eye-ache that comes from heavy websurfing and it's far more encouraging. The 'Copendium' itself is big, black, and bears a very heavy presence; like all his others it's a very pretty book. An added bonus is the astonishing material within.
The extensive contents, glossary and index pages make it clear this isn't something to read and bookmark (but pen and paper may come in handy). It works as more of a resource to come back to and scour through, but Julian's writing style is so endearing it's tough to put the book to one side. Julian refers to himself as an 'erudite barbarian', and his colloquial ramblings certainly reflect that. Meanwhile having everything in pure black and white with zero distractions gives you a reasonable image of what to expect. Julian's enthusiasm shines, and he actually convinces you of the crucial nature of this music. Drawing on his own personal experiences of discovery and using the most absurd metaphors makes you wonder just what you're missing out on. So far I've read up on six albums I've never heard before, and I know I must hear them: He's that convincing. Otherwise I've discovered two new gems and rediscovered one I'd almost forgotten about completely. I was certain I wouldn't need the accompanying discs, but now I'm thinking otherwise and counting down the days.
Not since Simon Reynolds' 'Rip It Up and Start Again' have I been so eager to hear something new, and some of this stuff has taken top priority. As for the others; you find yourself learning a lot about underground music in general. With each review there's plenty on band history, what the album did for music, where they are now and where they were at the time. It's usually all fascinating stuff before you even get to the music.
If you're up for a bit of a laugh, a bit of a learn, a lot of mind-expansion and some new tunes to spin 'Copendium' is an invaluable resource. Just don't shelf it; you'll be climbing up after it on a regular basis. Plus, leaving it on display is a great way to intimidate house guests.
5.0 out of 5 stars A big hit for a Cope fan,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)I bought this for my friend's birthday who loves Julian Cope. He was thrilled by it. The book is certainly 'tome' like, very good quality and packs a right punch.
5.0 out of 5 stars Top class entertainment,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)Whether you enjoy the music described herein and have any interest in investigating same or not, this book is worth reading because Julian Cope is an excellent writer. Perceptive, funny and passionate, "Copendium" belts along and sucks you into its jetstream of enjoyment. Like his other books on music, it makes no bones about its subjectivity but at the same time burns with a conviction that he's right. Read it for pure enjoyment as well as education. Petition your local library to get a copy.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Rock Music You Will Ever Read,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)You could easily confuse this big, black, mysterious artefact with the monolith from "2001", but don't be misled. One of them is a repository of cosmic wisdom which can transform human consciousness, but the other is just a big old rock on the moon.
The Amazon description and some earlier reviews give you the basics: the book collates Cope's "Album of the Month" reviews, produced over 10 years for his Head Heritage website. The reviews sometimes cover familar names but more often the sounds discussed are beneath the beneath of the underground. They're ordered here along the chronology of the music, grouped into the sixties, seventies and so on, followed by a closing section of "samplers" - imaginary compilations devoted to particular themes or styles ("Danskrocksampler", "Post-Punk Sampler", and so forth). Given that this huge body of work (the book clocks in at around 700 double-columned pages) was produced while Cope was engaged in numerous other projects, you have to doff your horned helmet just at the scale of the achievement. For a volubly self-styled Odinist, Cope has one hell of a Protestant work ethic.
That's quantity, and it's admirable. But what makes the difference is quality, and, let's face it, Cope is the best rock writer since Lester Bangs took his forged prescription to the great dodgy pharmacy in the sky, because, as well as being superb entertainers, they're the only two writers on rock music whose prose is itself (in all senses but the boringly literal) magnificient rock music. Cope's writing is by turns enraged, passionate, hilarious, ecstatic, bitchy, perceptive and confrontational. It's always exhilarating and imaginative, it's almost consumed by its own energy, it never takes received wisdom at face value and it's largely untroubled by self-doubt. Frequently, it blazes with insight. Cope sees himself as a shaman, and this book may be the best evidence to date that he's the real deal, and his shamanic talents emerge far more from his writing than his (frequently splendid) music. Because this is a transforming read, taking you to places you've never been and leaving you with a new perspective on the world. Really. It's that good. Case in point: the essay on James Brown's "The Payback", which is written from an avowed "non-soulboy" stance. Because of where it's coming from, it avoids all the usual cliches and hagiography, conveys all the stuff we all already know about Brown in a fresh manner, clarifies and widens his broader cultural significance and also repositions him as an artist of great meditative profundity. It's the best writing on James Brown I've ever read, and can't see it being surpassed.
There are flaws. There are occasional factual inaccuracies. Cope's idiosyncracies can be baffling (he doesn't like jazz because of the instruments they use, and his attachment to Kiss and Van Halen stretches credibility). And, as a reviewer in "Shindig" magazine noted, you could play "Cope Bingo" so frequently does he fall back on references to "Odin", "Ur-" and "m***********s". As flaws go, they're minor and eminently forgivable.
A bigger potential flaw is that Cope's writing may be too good for the music he discusses. I'm not familiar with a lot of the music here, but while I'm loving reading about it, I don't feel particularly hungry to seek it out. The prose is so rich and stimulating, I kind of feel I've already heard the music. I've also been burned by Cope in the past. The justly legendary "Krautrocksampler" was full of praise of the likes of Amon Duul I and the Cosmic Jokers, and made such a strong case for them I ended up splashing out on some of the dullest, most self-indulgent claptrap I've ever had the misfortune to pump down my lugholes. I'm fairly confident that much - most - of the unknown-to-us music Cope discusses here is splendid, but also that a good deal of it is terrible. And there's no way of knowing which is which. Investigating the music here, based just on Cope's prose, could lead you to Hel or Valhalla. Stick with the book, and Valhalla is absolutely guaranteed.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the Heads!,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)Great journey through the outer reaches of modern music. JC digs out some incredible gems from the last 50 years or so. A.R. & Machines is a revelation! Thank you Julian.
16 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Righteousness in book form,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)received today- big heavy black(bible black)book of darkness and a map to the underground (where some of us live)music scenes of oh thousands of years. Have read it already by holding it and smiling at its weight and its 719 fun packed (doubtless) pages- the skim read of distraction was just that- distracting and Julian Cope you are a rare and righteous motherf****** (the moment my review doesn't get posted right there- but it will exist 'cause it has been sent into the aether)and I and many others will read with pleasure and deep appreciation for you time spent out on the border and the gifts you bring us back- Cheers Brother
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who the hell is Randy Holden!,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)Fantastic read.
A pleasure to own / read I have the 'snakeskin cover'. A fascinating insight into the weird and wonderfull.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Copes underground for dummies,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)Yes, funny and interesting with a lot of sentences for the future. Cleveland is described as a wonderful "never land" and you really want to have been there.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of music,
This review is from: Copendium (Hardcover)This is the new history of music. Should become the standard text for heads. Too right. Oh yes...Love and peace to all.
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Copendium by Julian Cope (Hardcover - 1 Nov 2012)