The Bookseller – Rights – The Billet Book on Protest and Popular Music Scored by 1968 Press

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1968 Press bagged Shake the City: Experiments in Space and Time, Music and Crisis by Los Angeles-based cultural writer Alexander Billet.

Co-founder Jaice Sara Titus has acquired international rights directly from the author, for publication in paperback and e-book in winter 2022.

The editor said: “Part utopian manifesto, part theoretical exegesis, part love letter to human creativity, Shake the city is a plea for the revolt to be as poetic and musical as we deserve.

Its synopsis states: “The crises of neoliberalism and its turn to authoritarianism have produced countless opportunities to interrogate the relationship between music and politics, such as the use of music in hostile architecture, grime rebellion and the relationship between hip-hop and black. Lives matter. Synthesizing radical urbanism, Marxist musicology, anti-racist and anti-colonial thought, Shake the city argues that a formal, holistic materialistic understanding of music reveals a deeper meaning to social struggles over time and space. More than just another front in the battle of ideas, music’s relationship to social struggle reflects a battle over who determines history.

Billet is a writer of prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His writings have appeared in Jacobin, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salvage, In These Times, Radical Art Review, Historical Materialism, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, Chicago Review, Against the Current, and other outlets. He is a member of the Locust Arts & Letters Collective and sits on the editorial board of its publications. Locust Review and Imago.

He said: “As a Marxist, I have long been concerned with questions concerning the social function of music and the arts. What exactly is music for? Most conventional responses really miss the mark, which is only made worse by the overwhelming and constant ubiquity of the music, adding to the suffocating environment of the late capitalist city. This book is an attempt to cut through that static. The folks at 1968 Press have, even in a short time, shown that they appreciate theoretical rigor around tough questions while not relying on rote truisms and paint-by-numbers. It was an absolute no-brainer to go with them.

Titus added, “1968 Press is delighted to bring Alexander Billet’s unique brand of cultural analysis to a wide audience. As multiple economic, war and climate crises arise and collide, there has never been a more pivotal time to explore the ways in which protest and popular music intersect. Billet is perfectly placed to explore the history of this relationship as a new generation of social movements builds its own soundtrack.

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