When the beat drops we nod our heads automatically
Hoping the movement of motion will shape memories into our minds of how it used to be
Bring the Beat Back is the working title of a book about the evolution of instrumental hip-hop, beats and the rise of the producer as artist. Spanning three decades – from the 1990s to the 2010s – the book unravels the stories behind the music and takes a close look at the people and places that made it happen. From trip-hop to the beat scene, this is the story of how bedroom nerds got to the stage.
About the book
The project started in 2007 as a series of features for Spanish magazine Serie B, which were published in 2008. The features focused on the then-arising new school of producers in North America and Europe, and their links to what had come before – from 1990s New York boom bap to the foundational works of producers like Prefuse 73.
In 2009, the features formed the basis for a mix, from which this website inherits its URL. A Boom Bap Continuum took the idea underpinning the main feature – that beats were a continuation of the boom bap aesthetic of the 1990s – and attempted to map out 10 years of kindred productions from 1999 to 2009. It was put together by 2tall (now Om Unit), DJ Clockwork and myself (under my old DJ name, Kper).
Two years later, in 2011, on the invitation of a space called Centrum in Berlin the mix became a talk. Further unpacking the ideas, and with the growing benefit of hindsight, I put together a 1h30 talk that looked at the history behind the mix and argued for the rise of the producer as artist as an underlying argument. The talk toured Europe for about six months in 2012.
Finally, sometime in the summer of 2012, I decided to take all this work to its logical conclusion: a book. The reason for this is because I felt that the book format was the only way to tell the full story, to dig deep and put together something that could (hopefully) stand the test of time.
I’m writing this in the autumn of 2015. Over the past three years I’ve travelled the world for research and begun to assemble the book. I hope to publish it sometime in 2016/17. I am currently looking for a publisher.
About this website
This website was originally set up to host the mix. It has now become a repository for the entire project with a focus on the book though both the mix and a recording of the first talk are also available.
Beyond serving as a promotional tool, this website also hosts a growing body of research related to the book which I am making available in the hopes of providing a skeletal version of the final narrative that can act as a free copy, if you will. The idea being that you can read the story in a fragmented manner for free – via notes, interviews, features, and other musings – but to get the full story, and the narrative that will tie it together, you’ll need to get the book.
About the author
My name is Laurent Fintoni. I am a French/Italian national, currently living in New York after stints in London, Manchester, Tokyo, Brussels, and Milan. I write mainly about art and culture and try to make a living in the ever perilous world of publishing (whatever the medium). I can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
Can a sound without words say anything? Can it create change or even a revolution?? The lanmind has been deployed.
Mad Mike, 1999
Header image: Flying Lotus, Ras G, and Samiyam at the dublab studios for Brainfeeder radio, courtesy of Theo Jemison.