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Reynolds, Simon 1963-

REYNOLDS, Simon 1963-

PERSONAL:

Born 1963, in London, England; married Joy Press; children: Kieran. Education: Studied history at Oxford University.

ADDRESSES:

HomeNew York, NY. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Music journalist. Monitor (pop music journal), founder and writer, 1986; Melody Maker, staff writer, 1986-90; founder, Blisblog (Internet blog).

WRITINGS:

Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, Serpent's Tail (London, England), 1990.

(With wife, Joy Press) The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll, Serpent's Tail (New York, NY), 1994.

Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Picador (London, England), 1998, published as Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1998.

Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Spin, Village Voice, Artforum, Wire, Uncut, Rolling Stone, Guardian, and Observer. Contributor to online blog Blissout. Consulting editor, Spin.

SIDELIGHTS:

Music critic, journalist, and historian Simon Reynolds is the author of several books that explore both the history of various genres of rock music and the cultural phenomena that accompany them. In Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, for one, he presents a collection of music journalism pieces and essays, interviews with prominent musicians, and other material gleaned from his work as a journalist. Focusing on pop music and musical acts such as Nick Cave, Throwing Muses, and Front 242, Reynolds "lets their vibration speak clearly through his eclectic writing style, mixing journalism with literary theory," commented Penny Kaganoff in Publishers Weekly.

The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll, written by Reynolds and his wife, Joy Press, is a "weighty and fascinating volume" that considers gender as it relates to the freedom and rebellion inherent in rock music, reported Ben Thompson in the New Statesman & Society. Reynolds and Press admit that the heavily male-oriented field of rock displays considerable misogyny. They also identify the two male archetypes that dominate rock music: "the angry rebel and the sensitive mama's boy," wrote a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Mothers worldwide are accused by rockers of being responsible for "degenerate youth culture," the Publishers Weekly critic explained, which leads to ongoing negative stereotyping of women in rock music. The sensitive boys, on the other hand, have revived the type of dreamlike romanticism of psychedelia and similar counterculture music. "What remains unexplored is the fascinating implication that those artists who seem to embody rock's most gendered extremes" show considerable "ambivalence about their own identities," commented Jen Fleissner in the Women's Review of Books. The relationship between the many female rock musicians and the authors' thesis also receives little attention, according to critics. The Sex Revolts "is the first book to serve solely as a scholarly exploration of gender's impact on this cultural realm," commented Fleissner. "Like many trailblazers, however, it lays out the issues in overly simple terms."

In Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, published in England as Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Reynolds looks at the controversial nature of rave culture and the high-energy dance-style music that blares at its core. He traces the origins of rave music from American techno and house styles, and considers how rave music and culture have evolved both in the United States and abroad. Reynolds also explains one of rave's most controversial elements: the widespread use of the drug ecstasy, or E, which is used to enhance the rave experience. A Publishers Weekly critic called the book a "revved-up, detailed and passionate history and analysis of the throbbing transcontinental set of musics and cultures known as rave." Booklist reviewer Mike Tribby considered it "a neat history of a cultural anomaly" in the music world.

In the aftermath of the belligerent and rebellious phenomena of punk rock came "a more complex, fragmented brand of music characterized by stark recordings, synthesizers, and often cold, affected vocals," observed a Publishers Weekly contributor. In Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, Reynolds addresses the origin and evolution of the music that arose after the harrowing wail of pierced-andmohawked punk rock had subsided. He identifies numerous bands that exhibit the characteristics of postpunk, including Devo, Talking Heads, Joy Division, the B-52s, and Public image Limited (PiL), a group whose frontman, John Lydon, had once been the iconic figure in punk known as Johnny Rotten. Matthew Moyer, writing in Library Journal, remarked that Reynolds's volume, while the first to deal specifically with postpunk music, "stands as a peer among substantive punk histories" and related scholarly works.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1998, Mike Tribby, review of Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, p. 185.

Canadian Journal of Sociology, fall, 1996, review of The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll, p. 583.

Computer Music Journal, winter, 2000, Kim Cascone, review of Generation Ecstasy, p. 69.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, p. 77.

Library Journal, February 15, 2006, Matthew Moyer, review of Rip It Up and Start Again, p. 118.

New Statesman & Society, February 24, 1995, Ben Thompson, review of The Sex Revolts, p. 52.

Publishers Weekly, November 23, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, p. 59; April 17, 1995, review of The Sex Revolts, p. 49; August 31, 1998, review of Generation Ecstasy, p. 61; January 16, 2006, review of Rip It Up and Start Again, p. 50.

Women's Review of Books, December, 1995, Jen Fleissner, review of The Sex Revolts, p. 6.

ONLINE

Answers.com, http://www.answers.com/ (September 29, 2006), biography of Simon Reynolds.

Rock's Backpages,http://www.rocksbackpages.com/ (September 29, 2006), biography of Simon Reynolds.

Simon Reynolds Home Page,http://www.simonreynolds.net (September 29, 2006).*

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