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Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture Reprint Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593764074
ISBN-10: 1593764073
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Energy Flash

“Reynolds provides an expanded and updated version of his now-classic Generation Ectasy...Reynolds approaches his subject as both fan and critic, finding the perfect balance between autobiography and eyewitness. He also happens to be a terrific writer... Authoritative.” —Booklist

About the Author

Simon Reynolds is a consulting editor at Spin magazine. He is also the author of Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll, Totally Wired, and Bring the Noise.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; Reprint edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593764073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593764074
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sure, Mr Reynolds has a fondness for hardcore rave, but we were all sucked into electronic music by one genre or another. One has to start somewhere. He has done a fantastic job cobbling together all the disperate elements that make up the rave culture and explaining them to those of us that were there (and have difficulty remembering) and those who wern't.

I found the extra chapters from the American eddition a most-worthy addition as these touched on some of my favourite developments like trance and progressive house of which I am a particular fan.

Congradulations to Simon Reynolds for finding the vocabulary to describe what we heard all those years ago and to peg down some of those elusive feelings we had whist jiving amoungst the smoke machines of our youth.

I've moved straight onto his next book - Rip It Up and Start Again - I'm hooked.
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Good read. I bought this to relive something I experienced myself (90's & early 2000s underground rave movement) through someone else's perspective to see someone else's experiences and compare them to what I remember. Now keep in mind I experienced this movement in NYC, and really nowhere else. This book (and its author) clearly has a perspective from the UK. But it was entertaining to read, and I learned a lot of things I never knew about the movement that the author was aware of that were happening around the world at the time, and does a good job of telling the stories of the parallel things and events occurring around the world since the 80s that brought the rave/edm scene from an underground acid house movement to where it is today.
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Huge book. It's a little dry and the later chapters are pretty irrelevant to what I'm interested in, but the first 1/2 of the book detailing the rise of dance music and its influence in the UK is great. Nice record list to work through finding too.
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A lot of critics of the book complain about Reynolds' highly opinionated views on the developments of electronic dance music. This is a mistake; a wholly academic research and categorization with no regards to the vivid, honest opinions of the people who were there is of no use when much of the magic is about what it represented, where the parties happened, who were its consumers and creators, and so on.

Reynolds describes the ambiances, locations, producers, labels, and theory behind the music, parties and institutions that compose the music of that era. It adds social significance to those of us who have only the sounds free of context. A must-have for anyone with interest in electronic music of the past and present.

Simon provides a refreshing, highly informative, and thorough overview of dance culture. It has made me appreciate and discover music I would not have found otherwise, and clarifies many questions I had on musical preference.
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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.
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That this book, at this moment, has an average 3 star rating is a crime - pure and simple.

In terms of the comprehensiveness, poetic versatility, and insight into the meaning of rave culture that Simon Reynolds displays in this book, no other publication comes even close.

None.

The simple fact is that there will never be another book like it. It stands alone, and belongs to the top ranks of the greatest books written on popular music.

Indeed, this book is now (and most likely will always be) the definitive text of 'rave music and dance culture.' - at the very least for the 1990s. So if you want true insight regarding the challenge, and subsequent tour de force, of writing about dance music, read this book carefully.

Very carefully.

No other book comes close. None.

But I repeat myself.
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