am 31. Oktober 2010
A fantastic flash back in time for all those fans who staggered around with ultra heavy sonic boomboxes in their hands and to live life to the full you had to a battery junkie too. Lyle Owerko has produced a wonderful look back at the machines that were so essential to music in the eighties.
The five chapters blend the machines and the music but it's the in-your-face spread-wide photos of the radios that grabbed me. Pages eight and nine feature the Conion C100F, thirty-one inches long and sixteen high, a monster which, as the book says: `designed not just to catch the eyes, but to hold them hostage'. How about the Sharp GF-777 with four giant speakers or the Panasonic RX-A5 with eight speakers. Both machines were capable of pumping out an industrial strength bass that made them essential parts of street culture. Chapter four: Fast Forward has photos of fifty radios, several one to a spread and they look like they're bursting out of the book. Others are one, two or four to a page. Great photos, too as they are all straight on shots floating on the pages because they have no backgrounds.
Other chapters, with long quotes from fifty-four contributors, cover DJ and the MC, rap, break dancing and hip-hop. Street scene photos from a variety of photographers give all these pages a lift.
The book has a contemporary graffiti design look that I thought worked well with the static radio shots that run throughout the pages. Everything hangs together beautifully though an index for the radios would have been useful.
The book celebrates that special decade of the walking boom box and it's a visual treat.