SEAN BIDDER House The Rough Guide (Rough Guides)

In terms of information density this diminutive - smaller, albeit much thicker, than a CD case - publication has to be one of the best Rough Guides yet. Nestling under the umbrella of the Electronica series, with companion titles covering drum 'n' bass and techno, "House The Rough Guide" chronicles the career of over 100 artists and labels, attempting to map the growth of house music from mid-70s disco to today's berclub branding. Crammed with informed opinion and well-written biography, the enthusiasm of the contributors bubbles over even when their vocabulary drifts into alien territory. As you might expect from a Rough Guide, it's produced by people who love the music because they love the music. The scope of the book is admirable too, the artists discussed spanning the whole range from family favourites like Daft Punk and Basement Jaxx to obscure bedroom boffins with barely a 12" to their pseudonym. Given the dance genre's apparent allergy to rigorous discography and analysis, most of its protagonists operating under a bewildering array of aliases and recording for myriad labels, this book is an essential toe-dipper for anyone interested in taking the plunge.