Simon Reynolds

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Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds.jpg
Reynolds in 2011
Born (1963-06-19) June 19, 1963 (age 52)
London, UK [1]
Occupation Music journalist
Nationality British
Period 1986–present
Spouse Joy Press
Website
blissout.blogspot.com

Simon Reynolds is an English music journalist and author.

Beginning his professional career at Melody Maker in the mid-1980s, Reynolds has since gone on to freelance and publish a number of full-length books on music and culture, ranging from historical tomes on rave music and the post-punk era to critical works such as Retromania and Blissed Out.[2] Over the course of his career, he has contributed to Spin Magazine, Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, The Wire, and others.

Biography and career[edit]

Reynolds was born in London in 1963.[3] He attended the University of Oxford, where he co-founded the pop journal Moniter with friend (and future Melody Maker colleague) David Stubbs.[4] In 1986, Reynolds joined the staff of Melody Maker and soon established himself as a distinctive voice in the British music press. Along with several of his MM colleagues, much of Reynolds's early writing was marked by his championing of a loosely-oriented wave of artists that emerged in the late-1980's (including A.R. Kane, the Young Gods, Public Enemy, My Bloody Valentine, and Throwing Muses) who he saw as leading a futurist alternative to the musical traditionalism and reactionary humanism of most indie rock, soul, and pop music of the period.[5] Many of these pieces would later constitute the retrospective collection Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, published in 1990.[6]

In 1990, Reynolds left Melody Maker (although he would continue to contribute to the magazine until 1996) and became a freelance writer, splitting his time between London and New York. In the early 1990s, he became involved in rave culture and the electronic dance music scene, particularly that of the UK, and subsequently became a writer on the development of the "rave continuum" and its surrounding culture.[7] In 1994, Reynolds moved to the East Village in Manhattan. In 1995, with his wife, Joy Press, Reynolds co-authored The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll, a critical analysis of gender in rock. In 1998, Reynolds published Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, a history of what became rave music, and became a senior editor at Spin magazine in the US. In 1999, he returned to freelance work and published an American version of Energy Flash in abridged form, titled: Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture.

In 2005, Reynolds published Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984, a comprehensive history of the post-punk era.[8] In 2007, Reynolds published Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing about Hip Rock and Hip Hop in the UK, a collection of his writing themed around the relationship between white bohemian rock and black street music. In 2008, an updated edition of Energy Flash was published, with new chapters on the ten years of dance music following the appearance of the first edition. He contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008), edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. In 2011, Reynolds published Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, a critical investigation into what he perceives as the current situation of chronic retrogression in pop music.[9]

Reynolds has continued writing for magazines, as well as his blog, Blissblog. He resides in Los Angeles.[10]

Critical style[edit]

Early in his career, Reynolds often made use of critical theory in his analysis of music, deriving particular influence from thinkers such as Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva, and Deleuze and Guattari.[11] He has written extensively on gender, class, race, and sexuality in relation to music. He has on occasion used the Marxist concepts of commodity fetishism and false consciousness to describe attitudes prevalent in hip hop music.[12] In discussing the relationship between class and music, Reynolds coined the term liminal class, defined as the upper-working class and lower-middle-class, a group he credits with "a lot of music energy".[13] Reynolds has also written about drug culture and its relationship to various musical developments and movements.[14] In the last decade, Reynolds has frequently made appropriative use of Jacques Derrida's concept of hauntology to describe a strain of music and popular art preoccupied with the disjointed temporality and "lost futures" of contemporary culture.[15]

Books[edit]

CD[edit]

  • Rip It Up and Start Again : Post Punk 1978-1984 - CD compiled by Simon Reynolds, 15 May 2006, V2 label

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]