A story about "Ocean of Sound" — 5 years ago
While a far-reaching survey of interesting musicians and sound artists, the connections between them frequently seems tenuous, ponderous, or forced. The tone of the book seems firmly rooted in the era in which it was written (mid 90s) as well, which makes the focus on technology-obsessed post-modern neo-primitive hippie ravers amusing if not dated.
Toop seems wary of the burgeoning “spiritual supermarket” that accompanies much of the music and scenes he is discussing; however it isn’t clear to me whether his own trips to the Amazon were to document or to plunder the authentic shamanic sound-world. He seems to want to remove the traditional hierarchy of Western music (the ascendancy of the composer), but the recording and sampling technologies that help accomplish this, also promote the colonization of cultures he seems to want to preserve.
That said, broken up as it is into small morsels of interviews and memories, this is a very accessible read, and offers a useful lineage of many strains of electronic or ambient music – especially the dawn of UK rave culture.