Ocean of Sound  

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"[Ocean of Sound 's] parallels aren't music books at all, but rather Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, Michel Leiris's L'Afrique fantôme, William Gibson's Neuromancer ... David Toop is our Calvino and our Leiris, our Gibson. Ocean of Sound is as alien as the 20th century, as utterly Now as the 21st. An essential mix." --The Wire

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds (1995) is a music theory book written by British author David Toop and published by Serpent's Tail.

It is Toop's second book and is centered on ambient music which he defines as music that "taps into the disturbing, chaotic undertow of the environment". As an aural companion to the book.

According to AllMusic's John Bush, all of the songs compiled for the album recapitulate the theme of the book—"that Les Baxter, Aphex Twin, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, King Tubby and My Bloody Valentine are all related by their effect on sound pioneering."

A two-CD set was released with the book in early 1996.



"David Toop's second book covers a vast expanse of music. His tour-de-force survey describes a dissonant and invigorating clash of music and noise from western classical to Javanese gamelan, from Claude Debussy to Miles Davis to Brian Eno, from disco to techno to ambient. He discusses the changes in our sound world caused by the global reach of radio and recordings, and shows himself a rigorous pluralist, open to all styles and forms, but unafraid to offer robust criticism in any musical sphere."


Prologue : fragments and mantras -- Memory -- If you find earth boring -- Scanning : aether talk -- Burial rites -- Content in a void -- Altered states I : landscape -- Altered states II : fourth world -- Altered states III : crystal world -- Altered states IV : machine -- Altered states V : lucid dreaming -- Altered states VI : nature -- Theatre of sound -- Ocean of sound

2-CD compilation

Ocean Of Sound (album)

A two-disc, cross-licensed "various artists" compilation contains 32 tracks culled from a variety of musical sources, including dub, exotica, free jazz, and field recordings. Toop compiled the recordings to serve as both a historical survey of ambient music and an aural companion to the book. It was released in January 1996 by Virgin Records. It was well received by music critics and finished fourth in the voting for The Village Voice 's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. The album later went out of print.

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