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The Crack Magazine


Mars By 1980: The Story of Electronic Music

David Stubbs, Faber & Faber

David Stubbs wrote the absorbing Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany and he brings the same amount of knowledge and enthusiasm to his latest book in which he charts the history of electronic music. You may think that such an account would open, more or less, with Kraftwerk, but our German chums don’t take their bow until 200+ pages in. For what Stubbs has done in this retelling is take us right back to the early and mid 20thcentury composers who were really pushing boundaries. Composers such as Edgard Varèse whose chamber and orchestral works were ‘electric’ in nature before there was even such a thing as electronic music. We also get Stockhausen, Cage, musique concrete, the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, experimental jazz, and more, before the likes of Stevie Wonder, Suicide and the krautrockers even get a look in. Electronic music is ubiquitous today, but if you want to trace a line from the work of the Futurists back in 1909 to Fatboy Slim, then let David Stubbs take you on that journey. It’s some ride.