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Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed

‘Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed’
Brian “B+” Cross, Greg Tate, Dave Tompkins
University of Texas Press

Introduction by Jeff Chang


336 pages
183 x 185 mm
ISBN 9781477313909


Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed is an extended photo essay with more than two hundred images that represent a mid-career retrospective of B+’s photography of hip-hop music and its influences. Taking its name from the unplayed sounds that exist between beats in a rhythm, the book creates a visual music, putting photos next to each other to evoke unseen images and create new histories. Like a DJ seamlessly overlapping and entangling disparate musics, Cross brings together LA Black Arts poetry and Jamaican dub, Brazilian samba and Ethiopian jazz, Cuban timba and Colombian cumbia. He links vendors of rare vinyl with iconic studio wizards, ranging from J Dilla and Brian Wilson to Leon Ware and George Clinton, David Axelrod to Shuggie Otis, Bill Withers to Ras Kass, Biggie Smalls to Timmy Thomas, DJ Shadow to Eugene McDaniels, and DJ Quik to Madlib. In this unique photographic mix tape, an extraordinary web of associations becomes apparent, revealing connections among people, cultures, and their creations.

About the Artists
B+ (aka Brian Cross)
was born and raised in Limerick, Ireland. He attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin graduating in 1989 with a degree in painting. In 1990 he came to Los Angeles to study photography at the California Institute of the Arts. While at Cal Arts he began work on a project entitled, Its Not about a Salary: Rap Race and Resistance in Los Angeles, which was subsequently published by Verso Books in 1993. It was nominated as a Rolling Stone Music Book of the Year and made the NME critics best music book of the year list. Since the publication of the book B+ has continued to work in the L.A. hiphop community.

Greg Tate is an African-American writer, musician, and producer. The focus of his writing has been African-American music and culture. He is a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition and the leader of Burnt Sugar. He lives in New York City.

Dave Tompkins is a writer and a historian who writes frequently about hip-hop and popular music. His work has appeared in Vibe, the Village Voice, the Believer, the Wire, Grantland, and Wax Poetics. His 2011 book How to Wreck a Nice Beach: A Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop was called one of the greatest music books ever written by the Los Angeles Times. Tompkin lives and writes in the New York City.

About the Author
Jeff Chang
is an award-winning author and the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University and a contributor to the Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Believer, Mother Jones, Vibe, and Spin, among other publications. Chang’s first book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation won the 2005 American Book Award, and he was a 2008 USA Ford Fellow in Literature. He lives in Oakland.

About the Publisher
University of Texas Press (or UT Press) is a university press that is part of the University of Texas at Austin. Established in 1950, the Press publishes scholarly books and journals in several areas, including Latin American studies, Texana, anthropology, U.S. Latino studies, Native American studies, African American studies, film & media studies, classics and the ancient Near East, Middle East studies, natural history, art, and architecture. The Press also publishes trade books and journals relating to their major subject areas.