11 essential new books on electronic music
Liberation Through Audition: Rap, Rave & The Rise of XL Recordings
By Richard Russell [White Rabbit]
In Liberation Through Hearing, XL Recordings owner Richard Russell details the label’s unorthodox journey through the music industry, and its subsequent success. It’s a poignant read, interspersed with honest reflections on his struggles with debilitating Guillain-Barré syndrome, his subsequent adherence to Buddhism, and his loving relationships with figures such as the late Gil Scott-Heron and Bobby Womack.
The book explores how a scruffy imprint with roots in rave culture sparked conversations around pop music, reinforced experimental scenes, and gave grime a platform when few took notice, as well as the exit of the juggernaut. at the top of the charts was’ Music For The Jilted ‘by The Prodigy Generation’.
Considering its jaw-dropping roster of collaborators, celebrity meetups, and famous friends, names drop quickly, but it’s not boastful read. From the rise of talent affiliated with labels such as Dizzee Rascal, MIA, The Prodigy, Giggs and Adele, to surreal encounters with Lee Scratch Perry and Jay-Z, Liberation Through Hearing emphasizes the breadth of XL list, as well as his legacy within the music industry. While Russell owes himself great personal credit for XL’s success, Liberation Through Hearing doesn’t read like a solo victory lap; he has a lot more to accomplish