How Soon is Now - music books round-up
- Brian Donaldson
- 26 March 2012
A round-up of music books from Richard King, Rob Young, Martin C Strong and Bernie Krause
The next best thing to hearing a great record is then going on to read all about it. Unless you feel that analysing music in any way is akin to destroying the purity of the aural experience. If you’re of that opinion then best avoid this clutch of books. Richard King’s How Soon is Now? (Faber) has the nifty subtitle, ‘The Madmen and Mavericks Who Made Independent Music: 1975–2005’, which looks at the likes of Tony Wilson and Alan McGee as we get the inside scoop of how bands from Aphex Twin to Arctic Monkeys and Orange Juice to Franz Ferdinand were able to flourish.
Rob Young has edited together No Regrets: Writing on Scott Walker (Orion), whose career also blossomed on the edges of sanity. From glorious 60s pop to 2006’s The Drift which featured the sound of meat being punched and musings on Elvis chatting to his still-born twin, Walker’s work is, thankfully, like no other.
Martin C Strong’s The Great Folk Discography Volume 2: The Next Generation (Polygon) is a further example of his typically obsessively-detailed music bibles with entries on Billy Bragg, Midlake, Fleet Foxes, Nanci Griffith and the Proclaimers. Arguably the most eccentric-sounding music book of the year is Bernie Krause’s The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places (Profile) which explores natural soundscapes such as snapping shrimp, popping viruses and the songs of humpback whales as well as wind, rain and cracking glaciers. If you like this book, you will join an army of Krause fans that number David Bellamy, Terry Nutkins and Jacques Cousteau’s son.