43 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Generation Ecstasy is probably the best book-length study of electronic music available right now. It is comprehensive and discusses just about every sub-genre of elctronic out there. Reynolds even makes a few categories to suit his own critical purposes. While certainly well worth the read, the book has serious flaws.
In an effort to disavow his own bourgeois status as music critic and conoisseur, Reynolds routinely sides with the more "populist" sub-genres out there. Jungle and gabba are good. Trip-hop and IDM are snobby. Hardcore and house get the thumbs up, 'intelligent drum and bass' and illbient get the thumbs down. While he often has a point, this siding with what 'moves the masses' turns too easily into apologetics for the culture industry (the mass manufacture and consumption of musical cliché). Under the misguided notion that if a certain class or ethnic group consumes a certain type of music it must be good stuff, Reynolds gets pulled into the knee-jerk dismissal of more "marginal" creativity. At certain points in his book I get weird echoes of Edmund Burke attacking the French Revolution and insisting on the necessity for incremental change within the hallowed lines of tradition. Whatever happened to radical criticism? Reynolds should know that "what sells" is not necessarily the destiny of a genre. The future of music is often (but admittedly not always) heard in its avant-garde. I think Reynolds' pseudo-populism goes hand in hand with his annoying habit of tracing electronic music back onto the grids of music he already understands. Witness just one of many: "If rave is heavy metal (rowdy, stupefying, a safety valve for adolescent aggression) and electronic is progressive rock (pseudo-spiritual, contemplative), Digital Hardcore is punk rock: angry, speedy, 'noise-annoys'-y." Analogies like this create a false sense of illumination and profundity. What has he really said by rave=metal, electronic=prog rock, hardcore=punk? The effect of such equations is to call us back to the familiar and to erase the historical specificity of electronic music. Rave is NOT just the repetition of metal with synthesizers, etc.
Take these caveats with a grain of salt--the book is still a great pleasure to read.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
First off, the title is a bit misleading - this book is about the history of rave culture (primarily in England), and has very little to do with psychedelic/ecstasy culture and its philosophy.
The historical aspect of the book is a good overview, but extremely biased towards the hardcore and related genres of techno. In particular I was offended by the author's suggestion that 'Intelligent Dance Music' was virtually racist because it avoided the use of black hip hop beats while those beats were getting a lot of play in clubs and at raves. The author presents himself as an outsider at the beginning of the book, but he was clearly part of and influenced by the hardcore scene. That isn't bad in of itself, but in this author's case it means that ever other niche is compared to the original hardcore scene (as well as its closely related genres) in a negative light; the author insinuates that the other genres simply don't get the point. Frankly, I think the author is the one who is unable to get any of the other genres.
All of this aside, I give this book four starts because it is a truly excellent resource for techno music fans, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about the different genres of techno. Each section of the book presents (biased) descriptions of leading artists in each genre, and there is an excellent list in the appendix of tens of genres of technos with several album recommendations for each genre. This makes it an excellent reference for anyone interested in learning more about the different genres of techno.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
If you told me in 1992 that in 2006 I would be reading a book about "Rave" culture in the local public library I don't think I would have believed you. But..here I am.
AT the time of this writing it has already been at least 8 years since this book was published and I think we can see how the author's takes on the phenomenon has held up.
The author has a great understanding of the esthetic strengths of the genre,i.e. what makes these songs and their various presentations work.
He has a good knowledge of the artists, events and venues that helped to shape it (leaning mostly from a UK perspective, while very relevant, isn't the whole story).
He has a great understanding of the techincial aspects of the music and how cheap and malfunctioning gear is sometimes used and how these songs really often take a good degree of skill and effort to produce despite popular public misconceptions to the contrary.
I particulary loved his observation that a tepid corporate pop production like Celine Dion uses much much more expensive state of the art equipment than your techno record.
The author also has a great understanding of the, in my opinion, wonderous and vibrant philosophical concepts that went into this music and scene, and emerged through and because of this music and scene both expected, intended and unexpected and unintended. I would love to go on about them but I will spare Amazon this forum.
I am sad that this author thinks that ecstacy and many other drugs were so important to this movement. I found this element to make for more boring music and conversation. It was also a cause for tragedy.
I am disappointed that this author dismisses so much of the more "avant garde" elements that came out of this scene. He even, very wrongly, suggests that this side was not somehow as legitimatly rooted in the scene as a whole. This is complete nonsense.
In fact, 8 years after this book was published..when I bump into people I remember from this scene I get the following:
The big druggies are dead or crippled.
The main scene is declared "dead".
And..the avant garde is alive and blissfully unaware of their own reinvention in progress.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Generation Ecstasy covered the breadth of electronic music history in great detail. Reynolds even throws in various anecdotes that, while being highly subjective, adequately illustrates the tacit qualities of actually participating in these events (as opposed to analyzing them from a distance).
Reynolds has a particular attachment to discussing how the label "progressive" or "intelligent" is an indication of music stepping away from the fringe. He clings to the idea that being on this frontier (hardcore, unrefined tracks), away from conventional musicality, is a good thing. While this is interesting and somewhat valid, I can't imagine that something this sweeping is universally true. I don't think it's this simple. Regardless, while reading this book be prepared to be confronted with this theme over and over again.
Reynolds also illustrates how drugs and electronic music go hand in hand. Alongside discussing an impressive amount of trivia such as track release, party dates, and other significant facts, he brings out the roles that different drugs play in the creation and appreciation of particular genres in different times and places.
All in all, it's a decent text if you are highly interested in the topic. The constant flurry of trivia makes it difficult to read for someone who simply wants to know what all this "rave" stuff is about.