Writer, sound thinker and Wire contributor David Toop has completed his autobiography, but you’ll need to understand Japanese to read it. Entitled Flutter Echo: Living Within Sound, it will be first published in Japanese translation by the Tokyo imprint Du Books, an associate of the veteran independent music outlet Disk Union. There are no plans as yet for its English language publication.
The title, David writes, “comes from my first memory of listening and noticing a sound. When I was a child in the early 1950s my mother would take me to visit my grandparents in Enfield. On the walk to their house there was a narrow alleyway flanked by two parallel walls. I noticed that the sounds of our footsteps became hard and metallic as we walked through this alley, an experience strong enough to lodge itself in my memory as an emotional marker of childhood. The phenomenon of rapid reflections between two parallel surfaces is known as flutter echo, a phrase which also suggests the fluttering of a heart when revisiting such personal memories and the way that significant experiences can echo throughout a life.”
Flutter Echo spans childhood memories of Edgar Allan Poe and rock ’n’ roll, longrunning sound collaborations with Paul Burwell and Bob Cobbing, a field expedition to observe and record Yanomami shamans in South America, group projects with 49 Americans and Alterations, all the way through to more recent projects including his 2012 opera Star-Shaped Biscuit.
“My books are always personal,” David writes. “Flutter Echo is different for being a way of examining my own evolution as a person who has worked with many different aspects of music, sound and listening for nearly 60 years. It allowed me to be relatively open about the way in which events of life, relationships, collaborations and disasters shape the work itself. For me it’s about change, learning how to be fluid enough to go where your collaborators and the works take you and learning how to be patient enough to wait for your ideas to mature.”
The Japanese translation of David’s autobiography will be published in June. More information (in Japanese) can be found via the Disk Union website.