Book of the Month – Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines and Tomorrow’s Music Today

Lee Brackstone, Publisher at White Rabbit, has acquired World rights (excluding the USA and Canada, and Italian, German and Japanese languages) to Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines and Tomorrow’s Music Today, by Simon Reynolds, from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.

Simon Reynolds’s first book in eight years is a celebration of music that feels like a taste of tomorrow. Sounds that prefigure pop music’s future – the vanguard genres and heroic innovators whose discoveries eventually get accepted by the wider mass audience. But it’s also about how music can stir anticipation for a thrillingly transformed world just around the corner: a future that might be utopian or dystopian, but at least will be radically changed and exhilaratingly other.  

Starting with an extraordinary chapter on Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer, taking in illuminating profiles of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Boards of Canada, Burial, and Daft Punk, and arguing for Auto-Tune as the defining sound of 21st-century pop, Futuromania shapes over two-dozen essays and interviews into a chronological narrative of machine-music from the 1970s to now. Reynolds explores the interface between pop music and science fiction’s utopian dreams and nightmare visions, always emphasizing the quirky human individuals abusing technology as much as the era-defining advances in electronic hardware and digital software.  

A tapestry of the scenes and subcultures that have proliferated in that febrile, sexy and contested space where man meets machine, Futuromania is an enthused listening guide that will propel readers towards adventures in sound. There is a lifetime of electronic listening here.

Simon Reynolds is the author of Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellions and Rock and Roll (co-written with Joy Press), Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978 – 1984 and, most recently, Bring the Noise: Twenty Years of Hip Hop and Hip Rock.

Author Simon Reynolds said: ‘I’m thrilled to be reunited with Lee Brackstone and excited to join the adventurous list at White Rabbit. Futuromania is a twisted sister to Retromania – a themed collection of pieces that celebrate the sounds that feel like tomorrow’s music today.  Spanning from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to Auto-Tune’s impact on 21st Century pop, Futuromania explores the interface between science fiction and pop music, the human use and abuse of technology, and the dreams and nightmares stirred up by electronic sounds.’

Publisher Lee Brackstone said: ‘I’ve worked with Simon on all his publications since his masterpiece, Rip it Up and Start Again back in 2005 so this feels like getting married all over again – not that we were ever divorced. It’s no word of hyperbole to say Simon Reynolds is the reason I get to do what I do at White Rabbit. It was reading him as a teenager that first opened my eyes to the intoxicating power of writing about music. Futuromania is his first publication for eight years, and the first of two books we are committed to together. I can’t wait to share them both with his many fans and acolytes.’

Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines and Tomorrow’s Music Today will be published by White Rabbit on 11th April 2024 in hardback, audio and ebook.