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Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture by [Reynolds, Simon]
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Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description

Book Description

Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, by Simon Reynolds, is an updated and expanded edition of this seminal history of rave.

About the Author

Simon Reynolds is the author of Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellions and Rock and Roll (co-written with Joy Press), Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978 - 1984 and, most recently, Bring the Noise: Twenty Years of Hip Hop and Hip Rock.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2014 KB
  • Print Length: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #309,610 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a little ironic that Simon Reynolds, of all people, should choose to argue that dance music is at it's best in its most lumpen, populist, apparently anti-intellectual form. Reynolds made his name in music journalism in the late eighties precisely because of his intellectual chops; he coined the term 'post-rock' after all, and his first full-length book ('The Sex Revolts', co-written with his partner, Joy Press) is largely an analysis of rock music through the perspective of post-structuralist gender theory. 'Rip it Up and Start Again', his most successful book to date, focusses on post-punk's infiltration of the mainstream- a celebration of a time where experimental, politically aware bands enjoyed prime-time coverage on Top of the Pops. Similarly, during his tenure at Melody Maker, when Everett True's gonzo-grunge-clown-prince schtick was in it's ascendancy, Reynolds' insightful, measured prose was often a refreshing counterbalance to the snarky polemic of his colleagues. He was chiefly known for his support of the more innovative 'indie' guitar acts: bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Young Gods etc. His embracing of Rave culture was all the more shocking at the time because the paper's editorial line was militantly pro-'alternative' guitar music and anti virtually everything else.

So credit, where credit is due. Reynolds was one of the first 'Rock' journalists to do the dance thing. Originally published in 1998, 'Energy Flash' has undergone two updates in the last decade - perhaps evidence of its enduring significance as both a primer on and critique of Rave, it's grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews. On the other hand, it could be argued that the updates, together with a lack of revision of earlier sections, has resulted in particularly hefty Frankenstein's monster.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything as expected thank you. Recommend seller. Fine trade.
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Format: Paperback
I'm on page 235 and the obvious bias towards the author's favourite things is grating. And I was tempted to count the number of times he references Tangerine Dream. I've got 500 pages to go or more. I am not sure I can put up with a defence of the worst aspects of dance music which I have been checking on youtube as i go along so its not a blind comment im making. I will be back with another review later
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful to get a general idea of the history of EDM and some of its classic tracks, but deeply flawed 13 Feb. 2014
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Simon Reynolds is a British music journalist (born in 1963) who has covered several different genres of popular music, but experiences in clubs, raves and with the drug Ecstasy have made a powerful impact on his life. ENERGY FLASH is a voluminous survey of electronic dance music (EDM) and the culture (style, drugs) surrounding it since its start in the 1980s. The first edition of the book (titled GENERATION ECSTASY in the United States) appeared in 1998, but a second edition describes later developments up to 2007.

While Reynolds focuses mainly on the British scene, there is ample coverage of US developments. Besides starting his history with the Detroit techno and Chicago house movements without which the UK would have never had acid house and everything after, Reynolds also dedicates an entire chapter to US raves, highlighting the very different vibe there compared to Europe. The German scene is also covered, but in considerably less detail than the UK or US.

Through each evolution in EDM (acid house, hardcore, IDM, jungle, trance, progressive, etc.), Reynolds mentions iconic tracks of the era. Take, for instance, this bit on "Voodoo Ray" by A Guy Called Gerald:

"With its undulant groove and dense percussive foliage, its glassy, gem-faceted bass-pulse and tropical bird synth-chatter, `Voodoo Ray' looks ahead to the polyrhythmic luxuriance of Gerald's mid-nineties forays into jungle, as do the tremulous whimpers and giggles of the blissed-out female vocal."

When the first edition of this book was published in the 1990s, readers must have felt somewhat frustrated by these vague verbal descriptions, which don't really impart what the track really sounds like. However, we now live in the age of YouTube, when readers can easily hear nearly every track mentioned in ENERGY FLASH. Much of the book's value lies in walking you through classic tracks that you can go on to download yourself.

What seriously undermines ENERGY FLASH, however, is a lack of fact-checking and an inability to distinguish opinion from fact. As Reynolds makes clear in the introduction, his preference is a genre of aural assault and chemical saturation, where the names of the producers of tracks or even DJs is irrelevant, the dancers in a club living in the moment. For him, this is the truly revolutionary music of the era. He sees notions of "progressive house", "intellectual dance music" and "home listening" as throwbacks to established music genres.

Of course it's fine to have an opinion, and any reader is likely to find some strands of EDM more worthwhile than others. However, Reynold can't help making snide comments like "No one listens to The Future Sound of London any more" (my paraphrase), but a glance at FSOL's LastFM artist page reveals that over half a million people still do, with younger audiences continually discovering them and leaving ecstatic comments on the wall. Even the progressive rock that Reynolds feels progressive dance music follows into historical oblivion has shown considerably staying power if one simply looks at its internet presence.

There are also readily spottable factual mistakes in e.g. dates: the "Battle of Beaulieu" between trad and modern jazz fans happened at the 1960 festival, not the 1961 one; the 1992 hardcore scene wasn't inspired by Playstation games because that console was not released until two years later. We get misspellings like "Liz Frazer" for the chanteuse of Cocteau Twins (whose last name is in fact Fraser) and outright misrememberings like "Trevor Seaman" for "Dave Seaman". Mistakes like these lead one to doubt the overall reliability of Reynolds' history.
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