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Songshifting by [Bell, Chris]
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Length: 317 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

“Part rock memoir, part densely-textured journey into a dystopian world as rich as [Terry Gilliam’s] ‘Brazil’, ‘Songshifting’ is wise, elegiac and compelling. It speaks deeply to what music means to us – not just as an art form but as part of our emotional landscape. Wonderful stuff.” DAVE HUTCHINSON, ‘EUROPE IN AUTUMN’, ‘EUROPE AT MIDNIGHT’, 'EUROPE IN WINTER'

“Songshifting occupies a unique place in modern fiction: a simple, elegiac story, fierce and uncompromising, it is at once a love letter to a forgotten era, a richly evoked dystopia, and an examination of memory, longing, and music itself. Speculative fiction needs more writers like Chris Bell, ready and able to interrogate our world on their own terms, and probe the darker recesses of our minds. Songshifting demands to be read.” ROBERT DINSDALE, ‘GINGERBREAD’

Reader comments:

“Bell writes excellently. It’s particularly rewarding to see that done around the subject of music because it’s such a hard thing to write about well. There’s a real and plausible sense of the future musical landscape despite all the bands being fictional and the characters are well drawn”

“‘Songshifting’ has the authenticity so many attempts at capturing rock music in a novel lack”

“The music scene that provides the backdrop to most of what happens is beautifully fleshed out. I love the slang Bell invented as well as the sense of history he invokes”

Nothing is as it seems. Recordings of your favourite music are banned and confiscated by a repressive regime. You can still see state-sanctioned bands play but at their gigs you’re likely to be administered Sentimental Hygiene: a top secret psychotropic substance with unpredictable and occasionally fatal effects. Of course, you won’t know it; although you may wonder why the musicians have developed supernatural abilities, levitating, disappearing or worse. Raguly and Nebuly, the state’s sinister spies, are everywhere; out to put a stop to anything not controlled by a shadowy head of state, the impresario. And should you manage to evade them, Hector, Scuttler, Mohock, Ugmo and Mentull gangboys are lurking, ready to do you damage and steal your gadgets.

Meanwhile, music journalist Rarity Dean is on a deadline: ‘The Grid’, the paper she writes for, is a relic of a past age, still attempting to champion the new music although all home entertainment is considered treasonous.

‘Songshifting’ is set in a city that may be an alternative or future London. The state-sponsored Affable DJ Hologram gives punters a sense of freedom through a stylised form of entertainment while the impresario controls them through its insidious crowd control techniques and censorship. So an ability to songshift – a clandestine and elusive form of time travel that enables listeners to slip into the relative safety of their pasts with the help of their chosen music – is highly prized and jealously guarded by punters and musos alike.

Fraser Carlyon is bassist with Scrooch, whose music falls outside the spirit of the times. Dean suffers from worsening musical hallucinations and relies on the ‘Grid Encyclopaedia of New Music’ to refresh her memories of tours past as she tries to dodge the impresario’s agents.

As the state’s experiments in mind, mood and crowd control ratchet up a notch, rebellious musos, songswappers and rival gangs fight the system. Dean inadvertently discovers more than she’d bargained for: a more worrying explanation for the musos’ supernatural onstage ‘shtick’ and the ban on recorded music. Meanwhile, a power struggle rages between Scrooch and their biggest rivals, the Dust Bunnies, who eventually call a truce and join forces for Imprimatur, an event to protest the ban on recorded music.

The managers attempt to delay the event’s cancellation using a taste of the authorities’ own medicine, and the pervading mood of darkness lifts as Raguly and Nebuly are thwarted by the power of music and strength in numbers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 831 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1530872812
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: wordsSHIFTminds (1 October 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #764,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars music journalist Rarity Dean tries to balance her love for the music (and musicians) against the demands of ... 26 March 2017
By Gareth Renowden - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a dark strange world Chris Bell has created. A London where the bones of a city we might recognise stick out through a bleak A to Z map of strange names and weird places, a London where the only music is live music and a fascist fat controller and his henchmen run the music business. Navigating her way through an underworld of clandestine recording swaps, music journalist Rarity Dean tries to balance her love for the music (and musicians) against the demands of her magazine - itself a part of the iron-fisted music machine.

Bell writes beautifully about the music we can't hear, and along the way asks challenging questions about the way we relate to music and its role in all our lives. It will make you cuddle your vinyl and hug your CDs, for fear that one day The Man might come to take them away...
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story, here's hoping for more. 23 January 2017
By hamish Mack - Published on
Songshifting is a very good book. The story is dense with detail but it doesn't overwhelm you, it makes you want to find out more and it is not presented to you, it's in inferences and the conversations people have. The central character Rarity, is a music journalist and the government of the UK has outlawed any kind of recording of music. The whole apparatus that has been set up to ensure this works is fascinating to read about and prompts you to wonder what you would do. Part of the story is finding out how Rarity works her way through this society, the essential humanness she has in dealing with a bad situation.
Chris Bell deserves admiration for the whole dystopia he has created and also for the sheer number of interesting band names he has come up with. I hope that we will see more books set in this bleak but compelling world.