It came out last year without much fanfair, but Turner says that “The book is the most wide-ranging account of post-war electronic music in the UK. And any reader into the history side of electronic music would enjoy it.”
Tape Leaders was written by Ian Helliwell, who researched and wrote the book over six years.
Here’s what the publisher has to say about Tape Leaders:
A Compendium Of Early British Electronic Music Composers.
Published 16th June, 2016.
In the form of a richly illustrated compendium, Tape Leaders is an indispensable reference guide for anyone interested in electronic sound and its origins in Great Britain. For the first time a book sets out information on practically everyone active with experimental electronics and tape recording across the country, revealing the hidden history of early British electronic music.
With an individual entry for each composer, starting with Daevid Allen and going through to Peter Zinovieff, it covers everyone from the famous names of William Burroughs, Brian Eno and Joe Meek, to the ultra-obscure Roy Cooper, Donald Henshilwood and Edgar Vetter. There are sections for EMS and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, as well as amateurs, groups and ensembles that seriously experimented with electronics, including the Beatles, Hawkwind and White Noise.
Author Ian Helliwell draws on his experience and knowledge of electronic music, and after six years and dozens of interviews, has amassed information never before brought to light in this fascinating subject. With a specially compiled 15-track CD of mainly unreleased early British tape and synthesizer works, this is an essential volume for anyone with an interest in the history of electronic music during the 1950s and 60s.
There is also an ebook version available, with electronic music extracts, to highlight the work of 25 of the featured composers.