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18 New Music Books to Read This Summer

Loops 2

By Javier Blánquez

For years, the written history of electronic dance music remained an odd patchwork, more hole than fabric. Fortunately, recent installments like Michaelangelo Matos’ The Underground Is Massive and Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen’s Der Klang der Familie are finally filling out the narrative. But way back in 2002, a Spanish anthology called Loops did a remarkably thorough job of summing up life beneath the disco ball. Long out of print, Loops has finally gotten a reprint (still Spanish-only, alas), and it’s accompanied by a second volume (also in Spanish) by original co-editor Javier Blánquez. He’s one of Spain’s most incisive cultural critics, and one of the finest writers on electronic music in the world.

Loops 2 tackles the unenviable task of summing up everything that’s happened in electronic music in the past 15 years, from electroclash (remember that?) to the minimal boom (and bust) to EDM (cue fireworks). Blánquez is as committed a fan as this music has, but he’s no blind booster. Locating Kraftwerk’s 1974 album Autobahn as the starting point of the pop-electronic canon, he reasons that the music must be going through a midlife crisis. “There’s an expression that sums up the current moment: ‘It’s OK, but it’s not what it used to be,’” he writes. And he’s right, at least about the not-what-it-used-to-be bit; fortunately, those changes are precisely what he finds fascinating. As he writes of the impossible-to-classify music of Arca, “His music is surely the greatest lexical challenge to happen in electronic music recently: a demonstration that there are still regions unknown, newly

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