33 Revolutions Per Minute Electric Eden
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Electric Eden documents one of the great untold stories of British music over the past century. While ostensibly purporting to be a history of that much derided (though currently fashionable) four-letter word, 'folk', Electric Eden will be a magnificent survey of the visionary, topographic and esoteric impulses that have driven the margins of British visionary folk music from Vaughan Williams and Holst to The Incredible String Band, Nick Drake, John Martyn and Aphex Twin. For the first time the full story of the extraordinary period of folk rock from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s will be told in a book with the breadth of a social history touching on sonic worship, pagan architecture, land art, ley lines and ther outer fringes of the avant garde. Electric Eden identifies a particularly English wellspring of imagery and imagination, an undercurrent that has fed into the creative and organic strand of Britain's music over the past century. From Edwardian composers assimilations of folk song and visionary poetry, via folk rock of the 60s and 70s, the story is brought up to date by placing these earlier movements in a continuum that links through significant figures in 21st century pastoral electronica.
Why 33? Partly because that's the number of rotations performed by a vinyl album in one minute, and partly because it takes a lot of songs to tell a story which spans seven decades and five continents - to capture the colour and variety of this shape-shifting genre. This is not a list book, rather each of the 33 songs offers a way into a subject, an artist, an era or an idea. The book feels vital, in both senses of the word: necessary and alive. It captures some of the energy that is generated when musicians take risks, and even when they fail, those endeavours leave the popular culture a little richer and more challenging. Contrary to the frequently voiced idea that pop and politics are awkward bedfellows, it argues that protest music is pop, in all its blazing, cussed glory.