Reading

Geeta Dayal’s Another Green World

I think I speak for every­one when I say that Geeta’s take on Bri­an Eno’s Anoth­er Green World for the 33 1/3 series was hot­ly antic­i­pat­ed. I can think of few titles in the series that gen­er­at­ed as much excite­ment from the time her pitch was accept­ed to pub­li­ca­tion. Those who wait­ed will be rich­ly reward­ed by her insight­ful look into Eno and his approach to record­ing his land­mark album, Anoth­er Green World.

Gee­ta avoids the land­mines that sur­round a work like this. She brought her A game when it came to research­ing this book, dig­ging up cool quotes and get­ting great input from the peo­ple who helped Eno make this record. She doesn’t fetishize Eno’s genius; rather, she inves­ti­gates his meth­ods to demys­ti­fy the way in which Eno made the album. For any­one who’s been intim­i­dat­ed by Bri­an Eno as a mono­lith, this is a great way to get into his work, and the book offers a glimpse into his approach to his lat­er ambi­ent works that makes them much more acces­si­ble.

For a book series that can be pret­ty hit or miss, Geeta’s take on Anoth­er Green World sets the bar high for oth­er authors who want to dis­sect an album they love. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Gee­ta! It was well worth the wait.

Buy it from Ama­zon for just $7.88!

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Reading

My Take on the 33 1/3 Books Series

I final­ly fin­ished read­ing The Kinks Are the Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion Soci­ety (TKATVGPS) Andy Miller’s con­tri­bu­tion to the 33 1/3 books series. It’s not a long book, but it took a minute for me to actu­al­ly get into it, even though the Kinks are prob­a­bly my favorite band of all time, and this album is of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance to me. Why? Well, like many of the books in the series, it’s not exact­ly the smoothest read.

The book’s struc­ture is strange. It first tells the sto­ry of how the album is made and the var­i­ous stum­bling blocks that the Kinks — or rather Ray Davies — ran into along the way. That’s the sort of sto­ry I’m inter­est­ed in read­ing and it was an engag­ing one. How­ev­er, once that sto­ry ends, it begins again, this time as a painstak­ing account of each song that was writ­ten and record­ed dur­ing this peri­od, along with some spec­u­la­tion about why it had or hadn’t appeared on the final ver­sion of The Kinks Are the Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion Soci­ety. It doesn’t sound as bad when I write it here, but trust me, read­ing the same sto­ry told two dif­fer­ent ways smacked of a wit­ness per­jur­ing him­self on the stand.

Such is the rep­u­ta­tion of the 33 1/3 books series. Every author approach­es his or her book dif­fer­ent­ly, and even the most adven­ture­some  music fans approach the series with trep­i­da­tion. These are beloved albums after all.

Now comes word that the series itself has hit a snag due to the cur­rent state of the econ­o­my. I’m not sure any­one would be sur­prised con­sid­er­ing how both the music and pub­lish­ing indus­tries have fared late­ly. I just hope that Gee­ta Dayal’s Anoth­er Green World book sees the light of day. (Of course I’m root­ing for Christo­pher Wein­garten’s It Takes a Nation of Mil­lions book, too, but that’s in the more dis­tant future.) As author Dou­glas Wolk once (infa­mous­ly) wrote of 33 1/3, “the series that more peo­ple want to write than to read!” I guess that makes the 33 1/3 series the Vel­vet Under­ground and Nico of microniche music books!

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