Wax Poetics unearths a book line
DIGGERS -- part of a larger tribe peopled by DJs, turntablists, music completists and stripped-down-to-essence-of-it-all fans -- have long had their own rituals, codes and ethos. And although the end of the ‘90s meant the death knell for record stores and vinyl consumption as we once knew it, it was the so-called crate diggers who were salvaging the past: haunting cramped mom and pop record shops, collecting the beats, bridges and riffs that would be recycled into something new.
Providing some framework for all that fluidity, Wax Poetics, a Brooklyn-based magazine, appeared on the scene in 2001. An idiosyncratic music journal, distinctively designed, the bimonthly magazine offered context: a way to provide connective tissue between hip-hop and its direct antecedents -- jazz and soul and funk and R&B. On its pages -- as on the discs it references -- conversations with jazz legends segue into musings by hip-hop producers, then into reassessments of some bygone funk great. The magazine is still going strong 27 issues later, and this spring, PowerHouse Books is launching Wax Poetics Books, debuting with two titles: “Wax Poetics Anthology Volume 1” and “Wax Poetics Cover Story.”
“Anthology” collects a grab bag of features linking music history with journalism from the first five issues -- a collage of voices and the gospels according to Charles Mingus, Idris Muhammad and hip-hop producers Diamond D and RZA. “Cover Story” drops in even closer: a compilation of handpicked album cover art drawn from the collections of DJs, writers, music collectors. “Cover Story” is a pictorial riff on the power of cover art, its ability to not just sell a product but to reflect a mood, era or environment, from electric blues to electronica, mambo to MPB. Ultimately it serves as a fitting paean to yet another casualty of the digital age.
It's a date
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