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Rob Young’s Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music is a seminal book on British music and cultural heritage, that spans the visionary classical and folk tradition from the nineteenth-century to the present day.
‘A thoroughly enjoyable read and likely to remain the best-written overview for a long time.’
‘A perfectly timed, perfectly pitched alternative history of English folk music . . . wide-ranging, insightful, authoritative, thoroughly entertaining.’
‘A stunning achievement.’
‘A masterpiece.’ CAUGHT BY THE RIVER
‘Excellent . . . blissfully quotable.’ NEW YORK TIMES
‘An authoritative account.’ THE TIMES
‘Consistently absorbing.’ INDEPENDENT
‘An impassioned and infectious rallying cry of a book.’ SUNDAY TIMES
In this groundbreaking survey of more than a century of music making in the British Isles, Rob Young investigates how the idea of folk has been handed down and transformed by successive generations – song collectors, composers, Marxist revivalists, folk-rockers, psychedelic voyagers, free festival-goers, experimental pop stars and electronic innovators.
In a sweeping panorama of Albion’s soundscape that takes in the pioneer spirit of Cecil Sharp; the pastoral classicism of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Peter Warlock; the industrial folk revival of Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd; the folk-rock of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, Shirley Collins, John Martyn and Pentangle; the bucolic psychedelia of The Incredible String Band, The Beatles and Pink Floyd; the acid folk of Comus, Forest, Mr Fox and Trees; The Wicker Man and occult folklore; the early Glastonbury and Stonehenge festivals; and the visionary pop of Kate Bush, Julian Cope and Talk Talk, Electric Eden maps out a native British musical voice that reflects the complex relationships between town and country, progress and nostalgia, radicalism and conservatism.
An attempt to isolate the ‘Britishness’ of British music – a wild combination of pagan echoes, spiritual quest, imaginative time-travel, pastoral innocence and electrified creativity – Electric Eden will be treasured by anyone interested in the tangled story of Britain’s folk music and Arcadian dreams.
‘A treat.’ TIME OUT
‘Young is a fine writer.’ MOJO
‘Young’s immense narrative is both educative and gripping.’ UNCUT
‘A multitudinous, fascinating and beautifully written account.’ TLS
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