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Peter Shapiro

Related: music journalism - contemporary popular music

Titles: Modulations (2000)


Peter Shapiro is the author of Rough Guide to Drum 'n Bass, Hip Hop, ... 100 essential soul cds, Mutant Disco in Wire 2003Feb issue.


On Disco: Scorned and ridiculed as feather-lite, escapist pap when it emerged in the mid-70s, and now reduced to a kitsch scenario of Afro wigs, polyester suits and drunken singalongs at office Chrstmas parties and bachelopr weekends, disco is just about the last place anyone would look for avant garde practice. [...] --Peter Shapiro in Wired Feb 2003.

Turn the Beat Around (2005) - Peter Shapiro

UK edition of Turn the Beat Around (2005) - Peter Shapiro

US edition of Turn the Beat Around (2005) - Peter Shapiro

Turn the Beat Around (2005) - Peter Shapiro [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A long-overdue paean to the predominant musical form of the 70s and a thoughtful exploration of the culture that spawned it

Disco may be the most universally derided musical form to come about in the past forty years. Yet, like its pop cultural peers punk and hip hop, it was born of a period of profound social and economic upheaval. In Turn the Beat Around, critic and journalist Peter Shapiro traces the history of disco music and culture. From the outset, disco was essentially a shotgun marriage between a newly out and proud gay sexuality and the first generation of post-civil rights African Americans, all to the serenade of the recently developed synthesizer. Shapiro maps out these converging influences, as well as disco's cultural antecedents in Europe, looks at the history of DJing, explores the mainstream disco craze at it's apex, and details the long shadow cast by disco's performers and devotees on today's musical landscape.

One part cultural study, one part urban history, and one part glitter-pop confection, Turn the Beat Around is the most comprehensive study of the Me Generation to date.

"Excellent. Leaves no doubt that disco lives at the heart of recent music history." --Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster, authors of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History of The Disc Jockey

"Peter Shapiro not only recovers disco from unjust critical malevolence, he proves himself one of music journalism's most provocative, expansive, and engaging writers. Unearthing a story that stretches from Nazi resistance to outcast American counterculture, through artistic triumphs and unlikely crossover, and finally into a massive backlash coded in racism and homophobia, Turn The Beat Around: A Secret History of Disco is riveting, powerful, and essential." --Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Peter Shapiro's writing on music has appeared in Spin, Vibe, The Wire, and The Times (London). He is the author of the Rough Guides to, respectively, Hip-Hop, Essential Soul, and Drum 'N' Bass.

From Booklist
Few pop-music genres have so dominated the charts and airwaves as disco at its height; fewer still have subsequently been so reviled. Shapiro considers disco as much more than glitzy dance music with fashion ramifications. Emerging at a time when gay sexuality and rights were exploding and African Americans were entering the "post Civil Rights" era, disco combined elements of the subcultures of both. Shapiro describes how disco grew from roots stretching from World War II, became a worldwide phenomenon, and ended in a homophobic, racist backlash. High points in passing include Shapiro's incisive disquisition on how Saturday Night Fever had "more popular culture impact than any movie since Gone with the Wind." Shapiro cites record producer Nile Rodgers: "Those songs are powerful . . . just as relevant and as valid . . . as when the Sex Pistols . . . Pink Floyd [or] the Beatles are delivering a message." Let the pop-culture wars begin anew, with Shapiro's deeper, more balanced take on disco vitally informing the discussion. --Mike Tribby

See also: disco - secret - history - secret history

More titles

  1. The Rough Guide Soul: 100 Essential Cds - Peter Shapiro [1 book, Amazon US]
    The Rough Guide to Soul collects their 100 essential soul recordings in a compact book (it is literally a pocket book as it can easily fit into your front shirt pocket). Obviously due to the dimensions of the book, each album is not reviewed in great detail. The reviews are decent, nothing spectacular. The one plus the book has is that while there are numerous collections like this for rock or combine all genres, there are very few that concentrate only on soul music. The biggest negative I have is that they include greatest hits collections. Most all of the Motown groups like The Four Tops, The Temptations and The Supremes are represented by greatest hits collections. While they are more noted for their singles work, they and many other Motown groups made some outstanding albums in the 60's prior to the groundbreaking album work of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye in the 70's. --Thomas Magnum for amazon.com [...]
  2. The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass - Peter Shapiro [1 book, Amazon US]
    The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass Music covers the breakbeat and its circulation through the world in genres such as Jungle, Hardcore Techno, Trip-Hop, and Big Beat. This pocket-sized but encyclopedic tome traces the innovators and apprentices, with hundreds of reviews and recommendations. Drum 'n' Bass is divided into two sections--one focusing on Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass/Hardcore and the other focusing on Trip-Hop and Big Beat--and comprises 200 entries organized in A-Z fashion. [...]

  3. Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound - Iara Lee [Amazon.com]
    In this expansive history of electronic music, Shapiro (The Rough Guide to Drum `n' Bass) chronicles the creative moment of generating sound through sampling, mixing, and manipulation. Written by musicians and aficionados, the articles assembled here form a fascinating account of innovators from John Cage to Miles Davis, thoroughly exploring this sprawling genre and its musical offshoots. Densely packed and meticulously detailed, the book makes some startling geographic and stylistic leaps in an effort to trace the comprehensive history of electronic music. Through interviews, vivid pictures, and crisp commentary, it illustrates how electronic music is now at work in the majority of today's musical styles. This work, a tie-in to Iara Lee's 1998 film of the same name, explores in greater detail some of the same ground covered in J.M. Kelly's The Rough Guide to Techno Music (2000). An essential tool for anyone interested in this music, whether mildly or deeply. -- Caroline Dadas
    [with contributions from David Toop, Peter Shapiro, Kodwo Eshun, ... and interviews with Arthur Baker, Derrick May, Holger Czukay, etc ... ]

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