‘Sound System Culture: Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems’ – One Love Books

There’s been much written on this book already, but having properly immersed myself in it at last, I had to get some love up for it. Following on from Clarks In Jamaica, One Love Books have chosen to document Hudderfsield’s historical status as a dub and reggae capital outside of Jamaica in the ’70s and ’80s.

Despite being geo-specific, Sound System Culture: Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems is more a narrative on the entire evolution of Carribean sound system culture within Britain. Heavily pictorial, right from the forward the words don’t pull punches on issues immigrants experienced, the alienation that led to the parties that helped them come together and eventually drive the further development of UK lifestyle melding in to sound system heritage.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure where Huddersfield was before the press for Sound System Culture started landing in front of me. The truth of the matter is that the market town in West Yorkshire had an immense impact on sound system culture across the UK, and with a contribution that far outweighs it’s population and size, for the most part it seemed written out of the essential chapters.

The archive work is incredible, and the sound system porn even more so. Who doesn’t drool at a full stack of speakers? Stare at a selector with a hand on an unmarked record and wonder what it is? Or examine the movements captured of the operator working an unlabelled preamp of dozens of rotary knobs?

With a pretty even split of words and imagery, as above with the description of the climate that the communities existed in, the shots include maps, city aerials, factories, family portraits, general street views and anything else that helps take you back to this important era of the town. In turn, the pictures of classic systems not only highlight some of the most impressive systems that may or may not still be around, but capture the spirit of the dance that we all know and miss.

There’s too many highlights to mention even a few. Check below for a few grabs from the book, then head over to One Love Books to grab a copy while you can. Big ups all involved, brilliant project.

via One Love Books
The market town of Huddersfield, nestled within the Pennine Hills of West Yorkshire, has made a remarkable contribution to UK sound system culture. From Armagideon to Zion InnaVision, the Arawak club to Venn Street, Matamp to Valv-a-tron, this unlikely location has been a stronghold of the British scene, yet has remained largely overlooked. For the first time in print and featuring a wealth of previously unseen archive material, this book celebrates the people who helped establish Huddersfield as the reggae and sound system capital of northern England.

Concept by Mandeep Samra
Written by Paul Huxtable
Edited and designed by Al Fingers / Al Newman Design