Push Turn Move - Kim Bjorn
by Ellison Wolf
I find it interesting that Push Turn Move, the book that launched Kim Bjorn’s Bjooks publishing empire, took the approach of exploring the design inspirations, aspirations, and implementations behind electronic music instruments, and not the easier, more coffee-table approach of just gooey photos with history for each instrument. It’s a real testament to Bjorn’s passion for design [he is a designer] and there’s no doubt that Push Turn Move is a passion project that just so happened to resonate with so many, when it hit bookshelves and Danish Modern coffee tables in 2017. It’s the kind of bjook [sorry, had to] that you just want to have around all the time, that you want to own. It doesn’t hurt that there are tons of the aforementioned gooey photos of gear; it’s what hooked me initially. With a new, updated version of the book out, it was interesting to take a look at PTM’s short history, and while doing so I came across this excerpt from a review of the first edition when it came out in Sound on Sound by writer Simon Sherbourne:
“Push Turn Move is bang up to date with the latest devices and controllers, so runs the risk of looking ‘of its time’ in a few years.”
The man might just be a soothsayer, having basically predicted the necessity of this update, and it makes me wonder, with such a fast-paced world we live in, if more updates might be in store for the book in the future. This update, so soon after initial printing shows how dedicated Bjorn is to his craft. How many other authors/publishers of books in this vein this would even be thinking about an update, about more additions [more work!] to an already successful tome? Probably not a lot, and definitely not this soon, but only four years after the first printing Bjorn felt that enough has happened in the synth landscape to where it necessitated “more,” which is usually what any update in anything gives you, “more.” And more there is. With more than thirty new/updated instrument photos and overviews, and more interviews, this new iteration of Push Turn Move adds to the addictive content that made the first such a hit. It even has nicer paper quality than the initial release. What’s not to like?
At 352 pages, and with a foreword by Jean-Michel Jarre, this new version of Push Turn Move goes on to weave a tapestry of the history of design ideas from Ableton to Continuum, and PTM is a combination textbook, synth nerd bible, coffee table book, and design reference. On top of this, being a wordsmith myself, I appreciate the care to detail taken in the language of the book along with its narrative flow, and for this Bjorn teamed up with two consummate pro scribes in ex-Recording editor Dr. Mike Metlay and Paul Nagle, someone I’ve admired for a while for his excellent writing. I’ve read, re-read, and re-re-read my original copy of PTM so many times, that I would have needed a new copy soon enough, update or not.
On top of that, I’ve given out a fair number of copies of the previous version [as well as Patch & Tweak] to music/synth/future gear addict friends as gifts, and it’s gotten more than a few synth averse pals to give in to the dark side and become one of us. And why not? Ours is a colorful industry with an interesting history and Push Turn Move documents all of this well, showing how it got here, who made it happen, and why. To the uninitiated, electronic music and the instruments used to produce the sounds might be incomprehensible, what with the flashing lights, giant knobs, and bizarre looking contraptions, but its mysteries are perhaps what drew us in to begin with, and Push Turn Move does an excellent job dispelling mystery vs. myth vs. reality; it gives us an all important foundation by exploring the world where musician and machine are linked, and gives each of us a reference to showcase why we love it so, and to help spread our passion. And it looks great on a coffee table.
352 pages, hardcover