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Electronic dance music was once the utopian frontier of pop culture. But three decades after the acid house 'summer of love', it has gone from subculture to the global mainstream. Does it still have the same power to inspire?From the pleasure palaces of Ibiza and Las Vegas to 'new frontiers' like Shanghai and Dubai, raving is now a multi-million-dollar business. But there Electronic dance music was once the utopian frontier of pop culture. But three decades after the acid house 'summer of love', it has gone from subculture to the global mainstream. Does it still have the same power to inspire?From the pleasure palaces of Ibiza and Las Vegas to 'new frontiers' like Shanghai and Dubai, raving is now a multi-million-dollar business. But there are still hardcore believers upholding its DIY ethos - the techno idealists of Berlin and Detroit and the queer subcults of New York, the post-apartheid party people of South Africa and the outlaw techno travellers of France.In Rave On, Matthew Collin travels the world to experience these unique scenes first-hand, talk to the key players and hear the story of how dance culture went global - and find out if its maverick spirit can survive its own success.


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Electronic dance music was once the utopian frontier of pop culture. But three decades after the acid house 'summer of love', it has gone from subculture to the global mainstream. Does it still have the same power to inspire?From the pleasure palaces of Ibiza and Las Vegas to 'new frontiers' like Shanghai and Dubai, raving is now a multi-million-dollar business. But there Electronic dance music was once the utopian frontier of pop culture. But three decades after the acid house 'summer of love', it has gone from subculture to the global mainstream. Does it still have the same power to inspire?From the pleasure palaces of Ibiza and Las Vegas to 'new frontiers' like Shanghai and Dubai, raving is now a multi-million-dollar business. But there are still hardcore believers upholding its DIY ethos - the techno idealists of Berlin and Detroit and the queer subcults of New York, the post-apartheid party people of South Africa and the outlaw techno travellers of France.In Rave On, Matthew Collin travels the world to experience these unique scenes first-hand, talk to the key players and hear the story of how dance culture went global - and find out if its maverick spirit can survive its own success.

30 review for Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rodney

    This book has many things going for it, not the least that it's one of the few books that takes on the entirety of electronic dance music. Considering that most of the really good books about dance music (Engergy Flash, Altered State, Ocean of Sound, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life) were written way back in the 1990s, they all have a bit of a museum curio feel. This book, from 2016, is recent enough to have many of the more recent manifestations, innovations, and commercializations that have been This book has many things going for it, not the least that it's one of the few books that takes on the entirety of electronic dance music. Considering that most of the really good books about dance music (Engergy Flash, Altered State, Ocean of Sound, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life) were written way back in the 1990s, they all have a bit of a museum curio feel. This book, from 2016, is recent enough to have many of the more recent manifestations, innovations, and commercializations that have been sprung upon this slippery, ever-changing universe of subgenres. Another thing in Rave On's favor is that--perhaps because this was ground already covered in Collin's previous book Altered State--England is completely decentered. I love many English producers, and have literally hundreds of albums by them, but it's refreshing to approach this culture from a global perspective. The word "adventures" in the title is also appropriate. From digging trenches for sound cable at a rave in remote rural France, to the sweatiest underground spots in South African townships, to the cringiest of EDM festivals, to the wealthiest elite table service clubs of Vegas, Shanghai, and Dubai, there is a whole range of experiences here. It's so fitting, and emotional, for the book to end on the kiki (vogue) ballrooms of Manhattan, movingly presented as a living culture much changed since the days of Paris is Burning. It all comes back home to the queer people finding spaces in which they have the liberty to be who they are without the threat of prejudice or violence. Having first fallen in love with dance music in grimy warehouse raves and midwestern gay clubs in the early 90s, this is a world I have a great fondness for. I know firsthand what a club can mean. As Collin writes toward the end: "...a culture with the potential to create beauty and transform lives, to open up free spaces where outcasts were welcomed and mavericks could be heroes--an environment in which the progressive values of tolerance and open-mindeness could be the guiding force." The book isn't always so utopian. Collin is very blunt about some of the more problematic aspects of the scene, but this is overall a very affectionate portrait of a culture that, for all its popularity, isn't that much examined. There was a time when this culture felt like it was the only place people like myself could ever feel welcome. Many thousands of people feel similarly, so it's important to me to see books like this that take it seriously. I've been looking for such a book for some time, and I'm glad I found it. Recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dinu Guţu

    how techno explains the world

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    Boring

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Sylvester

    This is a superb book written not only by an excellent author and journalist, but by someone with a clear passion for dance music. At a time where racial divide is tearing rifts in our societies, this book demonstrates the power dance music has to bring people together regardless of the colour of their skin. Whilst this book starts slowly it immediately sets the tone for the intricate level of detail that follows, endless references to books, record labels, DJ's, interviews and club nights. At f This is a superb book written not only by an excellent author and journalist, but by someone with a clear passion for dance music. At a time where racial divide is tearing rifts in our societies, this book demonstrates the power dance music has to bring people together regardless of the colour of their skin. Whilst this book starts slowly it immediately sets the tone for the intricate level of detail that follows, endless references to books, record labels, DJ's, interviews and club nights. At first it's a little overwhelming and almost impossible to fully absorb. However I look forward to keeping this on the shelf for when I want to delve deeper into a particular genre, as there's plenty to discover; I've already compiled a list of books to read more about the development of dance music. I was awed by the stories of Berghain and Tresor in Berlin, the tales of their formidable bouncers and the unity that the clubs provided for the youth of the East and the West after the fall of the wall in 91. I was inspired by the tales of Ibiza and the parties summers of 'the promised land', and have a previously unsurfaced desire to travel their myself and party until the afternoon draws in. I was touched by the hardship overcame by the pioneering producers in South Africa who suffered so greatly for their art, and who's selflessness inspired the likes of Skrillex and Richie Hawtin to involve themselves in their culture. The conflict in Georgia strung a particular chord for me. The concept of the Kazantip nation and the perseverance regardless of government objection was nothing less than inspiring, and I resonated with the ambitions of the protestors. What's the harm in a little raving, eh? I highly recommend this book to anyone with an appreciation for dance music and the culture that surrounds it. Superbly written and truly inspiring. Actual rating: 4.3

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jack Mckeever

    Pretty much does what it says on the tin, this one. If you're unfamiliar with the history of electronic/dance music and are interested then this is a fabulous place to start. It was fun to read about Detroit and Berlin again, but the real highlights for me were the histories and evolution of the more off-the-beaten-track scenes. And the semi-defence of Skrillex in the Las Vegas chapter was way more interesting and reasonable than I thought it'd be. Pretty much does what it says on the tin, this one. If you're unfamiliar with the history of electronic/dance music and are interested then this is a fabulous place to start. It was fun to read about Detroit and Berlin again, but the real highlights for me were the histories and evolution of the more off-the-beaten-track scenes. And the semi-defence of Skrillex in the Las Vegas chapter was way more interesting and reasonable than I thought it'd be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    An excellent account of dance music history and culture, surely to enter the canon of music writing. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Díaz

    In this book, I found the answer to the question that I had always have about electronic-techno music: What and why is its relation with politics and the LGBTIQ community? Maybe it is the same relation that pop, rock and even jazz music have with this two worlds. but these are three of my passion's life: techno, politics, and LGBTIQ. The book order makes that the reader do not get bored just reading facts about how electronic music has growth through its history, but it invites us to take a worl In this book, I found the answer to the question that I had always have about electronic-techno music: What and why is its relation with politics and the LGBTIQ community? Maybe it is the same relation that pop, rock and even jazz music have with this two worlds. but these are three of my passion's life: techno, politics, and LGBTIQ. The book order makes that the reader do not get bored just reading facts about how electronic music has growth through its history, but it invites us to take a world tour around the most important cities, where the electronic music took and takes place. "‘You have to also understand that this music came out of cultures that were oppressed, so it was amazing because it was this space that people could go and be themselves. House is basically the bastard of disco and it was always a black and Latin art form, the music of people of colour, of queer people.’" pg. 352

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marek Krushkhov

    It's all about music, culture, awareness, knowledge, acceptance and love. Some of the memorable things to chew on in this book: - what was happening and current situation (up to 2018) in Detroit and Berlin; - French illegal raves and the legacy of 'Spiral Tribe'; - birth and demise of Kazantip (especially interesting for me as Ukrainian); - who is Goa Gil and why goa/psytrance is so important for Israel; - what happened to Shanghai after JG Ballard has left 'Pearl of the Orient'; - and many more i It's all about music, culture, awareness, knowledge, acceptance and love. Some of the memorable things to chew on in this book: - what was happening and current situation (up to 2018) in Detroit and Berlin; - French illegal raves and the legacy of 'Spiral Tribe'; - birth and demise of Kazantip (especially interesting for me as Ukrainian); - who is Goa Gil and why goa/psytrance is so important for Israel; - what happened to Shanghai after JG Ballard has left 'Pearl of the Orient'; - and many more insights from different angles.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tronikyouth

    great read full of insight and well researched

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Dexter

    A truly fascinating read on how dance music has grown and brought people together in cities around the world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter McDermott

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this given that it's probably thirty years since I was last in a nightclub and I tend to listen to more classic country than Techno these days, but Matthew did a great job of surveying the current state of dance music. Chapters on Detroit, Berlin and South Africa were particularly interesting. Ibiza and Vegas less so, but it's hard to see how you could write a book on the subject without covering those areas. Good job Matthew. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this given that it's probably thirty years since I was last in a nightclub and I tend to listen to more classic country than Techno these days, but Matthew did a great job of surveying the current state of dance music. Chapters on Detroit, Berlin and South Africa were particularly interesting. Ibiza and Vegas less so, but it's hard to see how you could write a book on the subject without covering those areas. Good job Matthew.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Euan Robinson

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robert Robertson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elliot

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laia

  17. 5 out of 5

    blanckien

  18. 5 out of 5

    DAVID JAMES PHILLIPS

  19. 5 out of 5

    Antony Price

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andy Mcloughlin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matej

  22. 4 out of 5

    Franck

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gembira Putra Agam

  25. 5 out of 5

    Róisin Hanratty

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alejo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lu Roloff

  28. 4 out of 5

    Trisha Williams

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shane Campbell

  30. 5 out of 5

    aleph3

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