In 20 Jazz Funk Greats Drew Daniel (of the experimental band Matmos) creates-through both his own insights and exclusive interviews with the band-an exploded view of the album's multiple agendas: a series of close readings of each song, shot through with a sequence of thematic entries on key concepts, strategies, and contexts (noise, leisure, process, the abject, information, and repetition). This is a smart and unusual book about a pioneering band.
“Daniel brings erudition and clarity to the 33 1/3 series with writing that's both meticulous and giddy...Daniel achieves a fantastic hat trick-- a love letter to an unacceptable band about their least-loved album in a book series that, until recently, was reserved only for acceptable albums. Let the wrecking of civilization begin.” – Brian Joseph David, Eye Weekly
“Drew Daniel employs a very rich lexicon, but chooses his words judiciously. More importantly, he admits right up front to being a huge TG fan boy, and that enthusiasm translates - even when he veers towards head-scratching territory - particularly in some of his interview passages with the band members (all of whom participated in the creation of his book). And by focusing squarely on the group's music, not their sensationalistic trappings, in a song-by-song analysis, he opens up the listening experience, both to neophytes and diehards. I might never have imagined such a thing was possible, but Daniel's musings on 20 Jazz Funk Greats have made me a committed Throbbing Gristle fan. And that kind of connective tissue I can heartily endorse.” – Weird at my School Blog, KXEP
“Always perverse, Throbbing Gristle was perhaps never more so than on their 1979 release, 20 Jazz Funk Greats. From the cover art, which at first glance appears to your standard "band outdoors" snap, (but is actually the group assembled at Britain's Beachy Head, a suicide hotspot) to the almost "normal" synth pop found within, TG deliberately alters reality until it nearly comes back around- nearly. Drew Daniel, one half of the electronic group Matmos, draws on new interviews with the group to craft a look at one of music's most extreme, intense and provocative artists, who delighted here in subtle rearrangements of benign elements into darker statements, such as captured field recordings of young children, mashed against a simple drum machine to create "Persuasion". Daniel ably illustrates the sheer brilliance of the record, in which TG turned down the volume but upped the intensity of their message. At nearly 200 pages this is one of the longer "33 1/3" releases, but is such a captivating look at the legendary group of pop culture provocateurs that you won't put it down.” – The Big Takeover
“This is a fascinating and thought-thorough accompaniment to the album, augmented by interviews with all the group members, which uncovers a trove of pertinent unfamiliarities in songs which feel like longstanding parts of the mental furniture after nearly 30 years.” – David Stubbs, The Wire, UK
“I fell into this book like Alice down an unfathomable dark rabbit-hole. It reads like a riveting detective novel, so concisely has Daniel (AKA one half of Matmos) woven personal history (both TGs and his own), (un)reliable narration (thanks to the members of TG themselves, contradictory bastards the lot of them), close dissection (a forensic/anatomical tank being particularly appropriate with TG) and overarching pop-cultural critique...this tiny volume on only one album in the massive TG oeuvre situates the group so powerfully in the appropriate historical, personal, and musical contexts that I never wanted the book to end. It's a vivid, revealing, and very personal work that is beautifully written from start to finish, and my favorite of the 33 1/3s so far.” – Warped Reality Magazine
“Daniel has delved into the album and dissects it here, sony-by-song, with acute insight, and with some thought in providing the context and meaning of each track. Daniel had access to all four band members for the book, garnering valuable information in his conversations with each, also drawing upon the band's historical record as documented in print.” – Blurt Magazine
“Daniel writes evocatively of his own experience with 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which he discovered as an adolescent looking for more extreme forms of music, but the best passages in the book are his Q&A's with the band members, who remain as confrontational and confounding as ever.” – Stephen M. Deusner, Pitchfork