Future Sounds: The Story of Electronic Music from Stockhausen to Skrillex

Future Sounds: The Story of Electronic Music from Stockhausen to Skrillex

by David Stubbs


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The definitive guide to electronic music.

"Stubbs is a joy to read."—MOJO***

In FUTURE SOUNDS, David Stubbs charts the evolution of electronic music from the earliest mechanical experiments in the late nineteenth century to the pre-World War I inventions of the Futurist Luigi Russolo, author of the “Art Of Noises” manifesto. He takes us through the musique concrète of radical composers such as Edgard Varèse, Pierre Schaeffer, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, to the gradual absorption of electronic instrumentation into the mainstream: be it through the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the work of pioneers like Delia Derbyshire, grandiose prog rock, or the more DIY approach of electronica, house, and techno.

It’s a tale of mavericks and future dreamers overcoming Luddite resistance, malfunctioning devices, and sonic mayhem. Its beginnings are in the world of avant-classical composition, but the book also encompasses the cosmic funk of Stevie Wonder, Giorgio Moroder, and unforgettable 80s electronic pop from the likes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and Laurie Anderson - right up to present day innovators on the underground scene.

But above all, it’s an essential story of authenticity: is this music? Is it legitimate? What drew its creators to make it? Where does it stand, in relation to rock and pop, classical and jazz music, to the modern society that generated it? And why does it resonate more strongly than ever in our own postmodern, seemingly post-futurist times? FUTURE SOUNDS is the definitive account that answers these questions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780571346974
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 1,261,976
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Table of Contents

Preface I ix

Preface II: One Summer xiii

Introduction 1

Part 1

1 Electronics: A Prehistory 35

2 Futurism and the Birth of Noise 43

3 Poème Électronique: The Long Wait of Edgard Varèse 60

4 Un Homme Seul: Pierre Schaeffer and the Art of Scissors 79

5 Stockhausen: Beyond the Cosmos 88

6 4' 33" of Everything: John Cage and Other Concrète Solutions 110

Part 2

7 Distant Galaxies, Deep Oceans: Sun Ra and Miles Davis 135

8 Deux Femmes Seules: Derbyshire and Oram 160

9 Stevie Wonder and the Electrification of Soul 173

Part 3

10 From Suicide to the Pet Shop Boys: The Art of the Duo 197

11 They Were the Robots: Kraftwerk and Pop Automata 221

12 Substance: From Joy Division to New Order, the Human League to the Human League, Depeche Mode to Depeche Mode 250

Part 4

13 Brian Eno, the Aphex Twin and Ambient's Late Arrival 283

14 Cutting Up the World: From Cabaret Voltaire to J Dilla 312

15 Reverberation and Decay 343

16 Legitimacy: From Castlemorton to Skrillex 365

17 Conclusion 399

Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Musical Technology: A Timeline 407

A Future Sounds Playlist 412

Index 417

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From the Publisher

Praise for Future Days:
“A massive answered prayer… Well-researched, well-written, intensely detailed, and oftentimes gripping."—Kirkus Reviewsthe rollicking energy of his prose and reeling majesty of his imagery convey everything about this music that transcends time and place.”—Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania and Rip It Up and Start Again

Customer Reviews