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|Print List Price:||£20.00|
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Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture Kindle Edition
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|Length: 816 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.