From writing about ambient techno and rap to being sampled by Björk, one of the UK’s foremost music academics shares his insights.
David Toop is a musician, author, professor and chair of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication. A regular contributor to British avant-garde music magazine The Wire, he’s regarded as one of the UK’s foremost music academics and journalists. He has published several books, including Ocean of Sound, a poetic exploration of contemporary music from Débussy to ambient techno, and Rap Attack, his pioneering 1984 work on hip-hop. His debut album, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments, was released on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975, and he’s since put out over a dozen solo and collaborative albums, from engrossing found-music projects, like 2016’s Entities Inertias Faint Beings, and snarling rock & roll, like 2017’s Dirty Songs. His 1980 album Hekura, a recording of Yanomami shamanic rituals in South Venezuela, was heavily sampled by Björk for her 2017 release, Utopia.