Reviews of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83


“The missing link I’ve been harping on about is no longer missing – Tim has placed the pieces of the jigsaw into a wonderfully coherent whole, finally illuminating what I’ve described as the crossroads between what came before (Soul, Funk, Disco, Jazz-Funk) and what would follow (Hip Hop, House, Techno). It is undoubtedly one of the most important books written on dance culture to date because it finally positions the early ’80s as absolutely crucial to where we are now, rather than being dismissed as an uneventful lull between the twin musical titans of Disco and House." Greg Wilson, Being a DJ, full review

"[A] compelling tale, beautifully told. As one who was fortunate enough to have landed in New York during this timeframe, Lawrence does a cracking job capturing a time when even listening to the city’s black radio stations at noon could change your life. It was a surreal, magical period of ground-breaking activity which now seems hard to believe could actually happen at the same time in the same city. Finally, here’s the proof." Kris Needs, Record Collector, full review

"Through a comprehensive and lushly detailed text stuffed with original photos from dance floors, DJ booths, and parties, Lawrence imparts the mood, the music, the faces and the places from that remarkable era, with a nostalgic nod to nights where "a new kind of freedom was set to rule the night.” Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter, full review

"Life and Death provides the most intensive mapping of this brief era of New York subculture we've yet seen. The book's strength is its depth of research, drawing on the realtime journalism of the era as well as many new interviews. The detail is fascinating, as Lawrence salvages ephemeral events, forgotten people, and lost places from the fog of faded memory." Simon Reynolds, Bookforum, full review

"Lawrence goes into remarkable depth to portray this world which, during its few short years, gained expansive popularity and had a significant impact on art, film, literature, and culture. His meticulous research, with details on the leading figures, trends, events, places, and music that made it all happen, also provides critical/analytical commentary on the social backdrop of the times, the genesis of the emerging and eclectic music/dance styles, and the essence of this artistic renaissance. In addition to the well ­selected photographs, notes, and bibliography, set lists, discographies, and a filmography add to the title's impressive breadth. Cultural historians and those familiar with the 1980s milieu will find this informative and insightful." Carol Binkowski, Library Journal, full review

"While unearthing the cultural crossroads that formed the foundation of the Mudd Club and so many vital venues, Tim Lawrence absolutely nails what early the 80s New York City club scene was all about: “The venue was helping establish the foundations for a renaissance marked by convergence and exploration.” That’s right. Renaissance." Tom Cardamone, Lambada Literary Review, full review