A Visual Document From 1978 Tomorrow
From Mute founder Daniel
Miller’s introduction alone, one can see the need for this book as he namedrops early artists like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.,
Richie Hawtin and Can. From there, the reader is taken through a number of eras, shining a light on how electronic music, and particularly being able to record at home, picked up the baton after the punk scene began to slow down in the early ’80s. From the early days of Depeche Mode’s slow rise in fame, to later releases from Moby and Goldfrapp, Mute: A Visual Document From 1978 Tomorrow does an excellent job of telling this story, with some great insights from its artists and Miller himself. At the end of the day though, this is a visual document, and the artwork, from mere sketches to the finished product, is a marvel.
While album art is obviously a huge part of the book, it’s also littered with photos of the label’s musicians throughout the years. It could be the black-and-white film or maybe just the era itself, but everyone from Mute’s early years just looks cool as fuck. Ultimately, what makes this retrospective a success is that it makes you want to explore or re-listen to every record mentioned. It’s never a bad idea to replay Arca’s Xen and Consumed by Plastikman, so thanks for the reminder, Mute. (Thames & Hudson)