Combined Academic Publishers


9781477313909: Hardback
Release Date: 1st January 2018

192 color photos, 24 b&w photos

Dimensions: 178 x 178

Number of Pages: 336

University of Texas Press


Music of the Unplayed

Written by
Brian "B+" Cross
Introduced by
Jeff Chang
Other primary creator
Greg Tate
Dave Tompkins
Hardback / £36.00

Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed is an extended photo essay with more than two hundred images that represent a mid-career retrospective of B+’s photography of hip-hop music and its influences. Taking its name from the unplayed sounds that exist between beats in a rhythm, the book creates a visual music, putting photos next to each other to evoke unseen images and create new histories. Like a DJ seamlessly overlapping and entangling disparate musics, Cross brings together LA Black Arts poetry and Jamaican dub, Brazilian samba and Ethiopian jazz, Cuban timba and Colombian cumbia. He links vendors of rare vinyl with iconic studio wizards, ranging from J Dilla and Brian Wilson to Leon Ware and George Clinton, David Axelrod to Shuggie Otis, Bill Withers to Ras Kass, Biggie Smalls to Timmy Thomas, DJ Shadow to Eugene McDaniels, and DJ Quik to Madlib. In this unique photographic mix tape, an extraordinary web of associations becomes apparent, revealing connections among people, cultures, and their creations.

  • Introduction by Jeff Chang
  • Side A. B+ and the Rhythm of Vision by Greg Tate
  • Side B. Terra Space Division by Dave Tompkins
  • Captions
  • Afterword by B+
  • Acknowledgments

Brian “B+” Cross is an assistant professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California San Diego and cofounder of Mochilla Production Company, whose output includes feature-length music documentaries, music videos, advertising, music, and photography. A former student of award-winning author Mike Davis, B+ was the photo editor of the music magazine Wax Poetics from 2004 to 2010, and he has worked in hip-hop culture as a photographer and filmmaker for over twenty years. B+’s 1993 book on the LA hip-hop scene, It’s Not About a Salary, was on “best book of the year” lists for Rolling Stone and NME magazines, and Vibe named it one of the top ten hip-hop books of all time.