Electronic music is now ubiquitous, from mainstream pop hits to the furthest reaches of the avant garde. But how did we get here? In Mars by 1980, David Stubbs charts the evolution of synthesised tones, from the earliest mechanical experiments in the late nineteenth century, through the musique concrete of the Futurists and radical composers such as Pierre Schaeffer and Karl Stockhausen, to the gradual absorption of electronic instrumentation into the mainstream, be it through the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, grandiose prog rock or the DIY approach of electronica, house and techno.
Stubbs tells a tale of mavericks and future dreamers, malfunctioning devices and sonic mayhem. But above all, he describes an essential story of authenticity: is this music? Mars by 1980 is the definitive account that answers this question.