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Sound System : The Political Power of Music - Dave Randall

Sound System

The Political Power of Music

By: Dave Randall

Paperback | 20 March 2017

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Musicians have often wanted to change the world, and many—from underground grime artists to mainstream pop icons—channel that desire through the political power of music. Music has a unique ability to unsettle the most fundamental political and social conventions—or, alternatively, to stabilize the status-quo.

Sound System is the story of one musician’s journey to discover what exactly makes music so powerful. Years of touring, protesting, and performing have given Dave Randall an insider’s view of the music industry, enabling him to shed light on the most tightly held secrets of celebrity, commodification, and culture. He finds remarkable examples of music as a force of social change as well as something that has been used to keep people in their place throughout history. From the Glastonbury Festival to the Arab Spring, Pop Idol to Trinidadian Carnival, Randall finds political inspiration across the musical spectrum.

A blistering, intelligent polemic about the political power of music, Sound System investigates the raves, riots, and revolution of contemporary culture to answer the question—how can we make music serve the interest of the many, rather than the few?

About the Author

Dave Randall is a musician and activist. He has toured the world, playing guitar with Faithless, Dido, Sinead O’Connor, and many others.
Industry Reviews

'Fascinating ... A deeply intelligent look at music and society and in particular pop's tempestuous relationship with commerce. Thought provoking, readable and clever stuff'

-- Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music

'A thrilling trip through the dark corners and secret gardens of the music world! Dave Randall leaves no stone unturned and has produced a work of rare insight'

-- Maxi Jazz, lead vocalist for Faithless

'What an imaginative idea, what a terrific, exciting book, weaving together the strands of music, politics and worldwide struggles'

-- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

'This engaging, hugely readable book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the state of the world - and in the essential, life-affirming role music can play in changing it for the better'

-- Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

'Logical and informed, synthesising the historical and the theoretical with a spirit of warmth and accessibility. We need more left wing writing like this. I give only a fraction of a shit about music, and I can't put this down'

-- Season Butler

'A wide-ranging and punchy book'

-- Dan Hancox, The National

'Very readable and highly enjoyable'

-- Socialist Review

5 Stars!

-- Songlines

'Ceaselessly fascinating and incredibly well researched, with a narrative voice that's simultaneously highly educated and humbly inviting'

-- Pop Matters

'An outstanding book on many different levels'

-- International Socialism Journal

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