Ever since the arrival from the Caribbean of the Windrush generation, soundsystems have been instrumental in shaping several generations of British youth culture. Reggae, ska, dub, rave, jungle, grime and dubstep have all had their basslines blared out through towering home-built speakers, often directly onto the swarming streets of events such as the Notting Hill Carnival.
It’s an important story less told, which is why Bass, Mids, Tops: An Oral History Of The UK’s Soundsystem Culture is such a fascinating read and an essential 488-page slice of cultural history.
Comprising of interviews expertly conducted over many years by dance music journalist Joe Muggs, and more than ably assisted by the striking photography of collaborator Brian David Stevens, it skilfully recounts the pulsating narrative of bassbin Britain in no uncertain amount of style and unfailing dedication. The book leaves no pertinent interviewee unquestioned, with Dennis Bovell, Norman Jay MBE, Youth, Adrian Sherwood, Skream and Rinse FM’s Sarah Lockhart among many others to appear on its hallowed pages.