Volume (magazine) - Concept


Rob Deacon and Robin Gibson thought up the concept of a CD and complementary book in the early 1990s, but found that publishers were reluctant to invest in it because the shops were full of discount hit compilations, and pressed them to rethink their idea and lower the quality of the book. Gibson was unwilling to do so, having seen similar projects fail because both the CD and publication had to complement each other. They therefore set up their own publishing venture, World's End Ltd. Rob Deacon became Managing Editor and Robin Gibson was Editor. They were based in a "tiny basement flat" in Edith Grove, Kensington; a grant from the Prince's Trust paid for an Apple computer on which the first edition was written.

The booklet contained interviews and bios of the bands and musical artists, with discographies and "favorite tracks" lists. The tone of many of the articles was irreverent, and much of the filler material was humorous. For example, in the Wasted compilation's companion booklet, several short blurbs entitled "The Diary of Dave Stewart's Beard" are written from the perspective of a beard, which pontificates whether it will be shaven, and describes its attempts to hide itself in shame after the poor performance of its owner's latest album. Among the contributors were comedy writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews.

In December 1992, Volume Five was selling for £9.99 each; the Sunday Times noted that it offered "otherwise unavailable tracks by obscure "indie" rock bands inside a smart CD-sized paperback book" and the magazine was making a modest profit. Several double-CD compilations were also released in parallel with the series, including the Trance Europe Express and Trance Atlantic series, a mix release called TEXtures, and two best-of compilations. These special editions were packaged in double-disc jewel cases, in a box with Volume's standard-sized 192-page booklet. The appearance of the first Trance Europe Express was welcomed by the Independent on Sunday as having "style and assurance".

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