Your Dance Music Summer Reading Guide

Can't get enough dance in your ears during the night time? Here's some for your eyes in the daytime...

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Jun 23 2014, 6:00pm

Summer is here! And that means you'll need some reading material for loungey days by the pool. If you can't get enough electronic music in your ears during the night-time, here's some for your eyes in the daytime. There's a whole lot of history in dance, from warehouse parties in England to the beginning of Chicago house and you can find it all at your local library. Or the Internet. Get learned, kids!

Love Saves The Day - Tim Lawrence

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David Mancuso is a bit of a legend in the history of dance music. He played an important role in disco in the 70's through his track selection at The Loft and the influence his collective had on record labels and their distribution strategies. With guys like Larry Levan, Nicky Siano, and Frankie Knuckles by his side, Mancuso produced members-only dance parties at his space in Manhattan. The ethos was simple: positivity and music. Alcohol was frowned upon, but LSD was accepted as it pushed everyone's experience to a higher level. The author Tim Lawrence recounts enlightening tales of storied nights at The Loft, which are a far cry from the latest shift in big room EDM culture. The book also features rare set lists and photos from Mancuso's parties.

EnergyFlash - Simon Reynolds

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Simon Reynolds chronicles the history of rave culture and electronic music starting at its earliest stages beginning in Chicago and Detroit and eventually its proliferation in Europe and England. The book, originally published in 1998, largely focuses on the UK scene where genres like drum and bass, garage, hardcore, and jungle snowballed into a long history of electronic production and a surprising permeation of dance music into pop culture. Another new edition of the book was published in 2013 covering the last five years in music including the explosion of EDM in the United States and how fans have changed their means of consumption to a mostly digital format.

Clubland - Frank Owen

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New York City was a beautifully decrepit metropolis from the mid 80's to the mid 90's. Crime, drug use, and counter-culture were at an all time high, and New York's most notorious place of whatever-you-worship was The Limelight. Frank Owens stumbled on the city's nightlife scene while researching a story on Special K, but what he found surrounding Michael Alig, Peter Gatien, and New York's hedonistic club-kid culture was far more enthralling and darker than he ever imagined. The scene finally spun out of control and the collapse of the city's nightlight followed Alig's arrest for the drug-induced murder of a Limelight drug dealer. Alig was recently released and THUMP had a conversation with his mother about Michael's new life on the outside.

Keep on Dancin' - Mel Cheren

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Before it was about the money it was about the message and music's ability to act as a catalyst for bringing together different communities. At the center of it all was the Paradise Garage and Larry Levan. Author Mel Cheren gives his recollection around the famous nightclub and it's frequent attendees including Tom Moulton, Grace Jones, and Francois K. Cheren put up the money to open Paradise Garage and gave Levan free reign as a DJ and curator, something that at the time was unheard of. The Garage was unique because of its eclectic crowd and left-leaning culture. Take me back.


Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster

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Together Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster pay homage to the culture of DJ-ing rather than electronic music itself. It's a drier read, but the authors still deliver interesting information around the history of record collecting, DJ'ing, and vibe setting. These journalists take a step out of their element and lean on quotes that give the book stronger legs to stand on. For those thinking about becoming a DJ this is a must-read... or at least a must-skim.

The Disco Files - Vince Aletti

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It's safe to say that without the disco era of the 70's, there would not be a DJ scene like there is today. Everything has to start somewhere and dance culture was given life under a disco ball. Vince Aletti recounts the earliest days of disco from week to week between 1973 and 1978.

Design After Dark, The Story Dancefloor - Cynthia Rose

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If reading actual words on a page is a reach for your current capacity or your head feels like mush from last weekend we've got a picture book option for the brain dead and raved out. This book by Cynthia Rose is a visual compilation of flyers, record sleeves, and magazine layouts related to electronic music. It's easy on the brain, but heavy on the feels.

The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music - Peter Kirn

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Are you tired of hack journalists talking about dance music? So are we! Kirn takes a different approach by presenting electronic music from the perspective of a producer with tons of gold dropped about what gear was used on certain tracks and the challenges that go with making dance music.

The Rough Guide to House Music - Sean Bidder

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Today anything with a lush bassline and smooth vocals automatically gets lumped into the category of 'house music.' Well, actually, it's not. Sean Bidder put together this small, yet functional guide to the history of house starting with the artists and their labels. Spawning from the collapse of disco, house music has been around in its different forms for years from the classic Chicago sound to deeper-jazz house, acid house, and hip house. House music is more than just a feeling, guys.

Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk - Dan Sicko

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Techno heads rejoice, Dan Sicko annals the earliest beginnings of techno in Detroit and later Europe. Sicko revised his 1999 version in 2010 giving the book a proper jolt into techno's current environment and its long journey from obscure to expansion. For the techno loyalist Detroit is the capital and the city's relationship with music runs as far back as parties that popped up in 1980, fostering artists like Derrick Carter and Juan Atkins, and today being the home for Movement Festival.

More learning!
DJ Technics and DJ Ayres Discuss the Past and Future of Baltimore Club
I'm Getting Evicted From Detroit's Most Famous Techno Loft