Books about music

yukbon

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
793
Location
Miami
This whole covid plague thing has me working from home, so I had to make room to work from home regularly (and I'm not the only one, so....) Reorganizing my shelves so I don't just have piles and piles of books around. So I went to IKEA and said "gimme yer cheapest yet sturdiest and 3rd or 4th handsomest bookshelves" and $40 and several screwdriver stabbings later, I had bookshelves that I immediately filled up willy-nilly. But that won't do. So I organized them. And thus I am revisiting old friends:

1600909636468.png

Brian Coleman's Check the Technique and Check the Technique 2 are the follow-ups to the (not pictured because I don't have it, because I can't find it for less than $50) Rakim Told Me. Anyway, consider these books to be sort of super-condensed hip-hop-centric 1-album-per-chapter mini-33-1/3-kinda-sorta.

Here's the index of the first one:
1600909573126.jpeg1600909668005.png

As you can see, all bangers, not a bad or insignificant album among them.

and here's the index of the 2nd one:

1600909708463.png

Again, more bangers.

These are a joy to read, in almost every way superior to the 33 1/3 series as a whole (although not better than the best of the 33 1/3 books; when 33 1/3 are good, they are really good. But when they're dreck, they're really dreck). All the chapters are 1-album-per and they are exactly what you'd want from someone writing about an album you've heard and loved for years. Most often you have interviews with central figures -- artists themselves and/or those very close to the production of the album (e.g. Mario Caldato in the chapter on the Beastie's Check Your Head). The second volume is better put together than the first -- not just editorially but physically, the quality of the book is definitely better on that 2nd volume; even the table of contents layout is better thought-out than the first. The quality of the contents -- both in writing and album choice -- are, IMO, equally good. They're a little large and heavy for casual reading while travelling, but there are kindle editions for that sort of thing. I'm kind of surprised these haven't turned into a series unto themselves. If you're a hip-hop fan and you've wanted background on these albums, these are well worth your time.
 

Jan

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
1,828
Location
Berlin
41g3lUj3c%2BL._AC_SY400_.jpg

Just finished this. Kristin Hershs memoir is not an comprehensive study of the artist vic Chesnutt but a very personal tribute to their difficult friendship on rge road, mental health issues written in a very similar prose directed at vic as the "you" in the book
 
Last edited:

yukbon

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
793
Location
Miami
Nice thread! Realized that I knew enough about rock to understand the different decades/genres/influences, but didn't know what to listen for/to when listening to Jazz - besides that I enjoyed it. I'm reading this book to hopefully give me some frames of reference.


this book is amazing and wonderful, you are in for a real treat.
 

Selaws

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
6,266
Location
London, UK
Nice thread! Realized that I knew enough about rock to understand the different decades/genres/influences, but didn't know what to listen for/to when listening to Jazz - besides that I enjoyed it. I'm reading this book to hopefully give me some frames of reference.

I agree with @yukbon, its a fantastic read. Its heavy in places but dont let that put you off, its worth sticking to and is incredibly well written.
 

imtheocean

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
1,002
Location
San Diego, CA
Thanks @yukbon and @Selaws - just up to Louis Armstrong now. I've got a basic understanding of music theory, so most of the deeper stuff at least makes some sense to me. Found this playlist on Spotify that is a great resource too, so I can dig in when I'm listening too.

 
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
105
Location
In transit

yukbon

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
793
Location
Miami
Sort of adjacent to the discussion of standards, there's a YouTube video by Adam neely on the subject of The Real Fake book (and fake books in general) that's a worthwhile 5 minutes
 

Lee Newman

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
5,202
Age
48
Location
Durham
Books about music, huh?

I just want music about Books...


 
  • Cheers
Reactions: Tyr

jerichomudd

New Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Madison, WI


This last one isn't about music directly, but is about the Mississippi flood of 1927 which deeply impacted blues and offers context in better understanding the music and songs that were spawned from that disaster
 
Last edited:

yukbon

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
793
Location
Miami
John Zorn, NY jazz-weirdo par excellance, puts out what can only be called, by anyone's measure, a brutal amount of music per year. Not being content with filling your ears with sound and putting out others' music on his own label tzadik, in 2000 he started publishing the Arcana book series (also on tzadik Welcome to Tzadik).

1 - Id4A3Rc.jpg

Currently it's up to Volume VIII and the website says 250 musicians have contributed (this feels like an exagerration but I haven't counted so IDK). Even a partial list of the contributing musicians who've written pieces for Arcana is like an avant-garde who's-who:

Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Eyvind Kang, Ikue Mori, Larry Ochs, Bob Ostertag, Mike Patton, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, John Zorn,
Z’EV, Trevor Dunn, Yamataka Eye, Jim O’Rourke, Trey Spruance, J.G. Thirlwell, Sean Lennon, Buzz Osbourne, Derek Bailey, John King, Nels Cline, Bob Ludwig, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, William Breeze, Yusef Lateef, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Thurston Moore, Pat Metheny (more that I have left off are on tzadik's website).

2 - hpxRZUy.jpg3 - lR6ChfK.jpg4 - WTqxPE5.jpg

Some pieces are legit eye-glazing borefests that remind you that writing is not a gift
that everyone can say they have. But largely these are all well-written pieces, if sometimes disparate. Ben Goldberg's piece is technical and requires at least passing familiarity with written music:

8 - 3hHhUcs.jpg

Trey Spruance (Mr Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Faith No More, etc) has a piece in the second volume that veers from rumination on audience into....this....weirdass script...featuring characters (no surnames but....) such as GG, Kurt and Bon Scottus Eurigena.
5 - P6FhYOC.jpg6 - 5rlxzcb.jpg

Foetus' piece on tinnutus is interesting, more about practicalities and the meat and potatoes of being a working musician:
7 - MumHq6V.jpg

If these appeal to you, FYI they are part of Target's "buy 2 get 1 free" sale Arcana Zorn : Target
 
Last edited:

BjorgenFjorgen

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
2,952
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Top