David Toop

David Toop (born 5 May 1949) is an English musician, author, and professor of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication. He was a regular contributor to British music magazine The Wire and the British magazine The Face. He was a member of the Flying Lizards

Early years

Soon after his birth, his parents moved to Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, where he grew up. He was educated at Broxbourne Grammar School, which he left in 1967 to study at Hornsey College of Art.


Toop published his pioneering book on hip hop, Rap Attack, in 1984. Eleven years later, Ocean of Sound appeared, described as Toop's "poetic survey of contemporary musical life from Debussy through Ambient, Techno, and drum 'n' bass." Since the 1970s, Toop has also been a significant presence on the British experimental and improvised music scene, collaborating with Max Eastley, Brian Eno, and others. He is a member of the improvising, genre-hopping quartet Alterations, active from 1977 to 1986 and reforming in 2015. In 2000, Toop curated the sound art exhibition Sonic Boom, and the following year, he curated a 2-CD collection entitled Not Necessarily English Music: A Collection of Experimental Music from Great Britain, 1960–1977. More experimentally, Toop has also actively engaged with 'sounding objects' from a range of museums.


  • Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip Hop (1984) – republished with additional chapters as
  • Rap Attack 2: African Rap To Global Hip Hop (1992)
  • Rap Attack 3 (2000)
  • Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds (1995)
  • Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World (1999)
  • Haunted Weather: Music, Silence, and Memory(2004)
  • Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener(2010)
  • Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom, Before 1970(2016)
  • Flutter Echo(2017) in Japanese language
  • Flutter Echo (2019) in English Language
  • Inflamed Invisible: Collected Writings on Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2019)

    Partial discography

    Solo and collaborations

  • New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments (with Max Eastley) (1975)
  • Wounds (with Paul Burwell) (1979)
  • Buried Dreams (with Max Eastley) (1994)
  • Ancient Lights and the Blackcore (with Scorn, Seefeel, Timothy Leary/Dj Ched I Sabbah)
  • Screen Ceremonies (1995)
  • Pink Noir (1996)
  • Spirit World (1997)
  • Hot Pants Idol (1999)
  • Museum of Fruit (1999)
  • Needle in the Groove (with Jeff Noon) (2000)
  • Black Chamber (2003)
  • 37th Floor at Sunset (2004)
  • Doll Creature (with Max Eastley) (2004)
  • Sound Body (2007)
  • ''Lost Shadows: In Defence of the Soul - Yanomami Shamanism, Songs, Ritual, 1978 (2013)
  • Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016)
  • Dirty Songs Play Dirty Songs (2017)

    Curated albums

  • Ocean of Sound (1996) – (2-CD set intended to accompany his book)
  • Crooning on Venus (1996)
  • Sugar & Poison: Tru-Life Soul Ballads for Sentients, Cynics, Sex Machines & Sybarites (1996)
  • Booming on Pluto: Electro for Droids (1997)
  • Guitars on Mars (1997)
  • Not Necessarily "English Music" (2001)
  • Haunted Weather : Music, Silence, and Memory (2004) – (2-CD set intended to accompany his book)