David Toop  

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"[Ocean of Sound 's] parallels aren't music books at all, but rather Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, Michel Leiris's L'Afrique fantôme, William Gibson's Neuromancer ... David Toop is our Calvino and our Leiris, our Gibson. Ocean of Sound is as alien as the 20th century, as utterly Now as the 21st. An essential mix." --The Wire

"Urban spaceman Afrika Bambaataa and producer Arthur Baker, plus musician John Robie, were the trio behind a musical revolution called "Planet Rock", Bambaataa's 1982 single with Soul Sonic Force. Following the impact of "Planet Rock", UK groups made Electro-boogie pilgrimages to Baker's studio in Manhattan: Freeze's "IOU" rocketed jazz funk into the infosphere but more significantly, New Order's "Blue Monday" launched indie dancing and sold massively on 12". Also breaking and robot dancing, the acrobatic and simulated machine dances that drew many adolescents into the alien zone of black science fiction. Bleep music was one consequence of this. Hardly adequate to describe and encompass the protozoic chaos of New York Nu Groove, Detroit Techno, Chicago House, electro. Next came techno." -- David Toop for Wire magazine

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David Toop (born 5 May 1949) is an English musician and author, and as of 2001 was visiting Research Fellow in the Media School at London College of Communication. He was notably a member of The Flying Lizards. He was a prominent contributor to the British magazine The Face. He is a regular contributor to The Wire, the U.K. based music magazine. He is perhaps best-known as the author of Ocean of Sound (1995). His latest book is Sinister Resonance (2010).


Early years

Soon after his birth, his parents moved to Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, where he grew up. He was educated at Broxbourne Grammar School, which he left in 1967 to study at Hornsey College of Art.


Toop published his pioneering book on hip hop, Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip Hop, in 1984. Eleven years later, Ocean of Sound appeared, described as Toop's "poetic survey of contemporary musical life from Debussy through Ambient, Techno, and drum 'n' bass." Since the 1970s, Toop has also been a significant presence on the British experimental and improvised music scene, collaborating with Max Eastley, Brian Eno, Scanner, and others. In 2001, Toop curated the sound art exhibition Sonic Boom, and the following year, he curated a 2-CD collection entitled Not Necessarily Enough English Music: A Collection of Experimental Music from Great Britain, 1960–1977. More experimentally, Toop has also actively engaged with 'sounding objects' from a range of museums.




Discography (partial)

Solo and Collaborative Albums

  • New & Rediscovered Musical Instruments (with Max Eastley) (1975)
  • Wounds (with Paul Burwell) (1979)
  • Buried Dreams (with Max Eastley) (1994)
  • Ancient Lights and the Blackcore (with Scorn, Seefeel, Timothy Leary/Dj Ched I Sabbah)
  • Pink Noir (1996)
  • Screen Ceremonies (1996)
  • Spirit World (1997)
  • Hot Pants Idol (1999)
  • Museum of Fruit (1999)
  • Needle in the Groove (with Jeff Noon) (2000)
  • Black Chamber (2003)
  • 37th Floor at Sunset (2004)
  • Doll Creature (with Max Eastley) (2004)
  • Sound Body (2007)

Curated albums

  • Ocean of Sound (1996) – (2-CD set intended to accompany his book)
  • Crooning on Venus (1996)
  • Sugar & Poison: Tru-Life Soul Ballads for Sentients, Cynics, Sex Machines & Sybarites (1996)
  • Booming on Pluto: Electro for Droids (1997)
  • Guitars on Mars (1997)
  • Haunted Weather : Music, Silence, and Memory (2004) – (2-CD set intended to accompany his book)

Linking in in 2023

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