Italian photographer and journalist Armando Gallo was captivated by Genesis in the 70s, and published the biography I Know What I Like in 1979.
With its hundreds of exclusive photographs and exhaustive text (based on hours of interviews with the band and their circle), it became the must-have bible among Genesis fans. It’s long been out of print, but now Gallo has united with Argentinian software company Zentric and, with development funded by a Kickstarter campaign, brought it back to life as an app.
Still concluding as the band are recording Duke, the text of the book remains unchanged from ’79. Gallo starts in linear style at their alma mater Charterhouse, his words set within his beautiful shots of the buildings. Tap on and expand archive shots of Gabriel, Tony Banks and Anthony Philips, or curios like a very early rejection letter from Jonathan King’s company Jonjo Music, their first press shots and first setlist.
It’s proper multimedia too, with clickable soundbites from the original interviews used for the book. As you read about the band honing their skills at Philips’ family cottage near Guildford, his 12-string guitar strikes up with an exclusive tune. Hackett contributed new music too - his lilting classical guitar accompanies your read with sweetly prosaic titles like For Armando’s Book #2. As each major Genesis album is discussed, cue excerpts of The Knife, Supper’s Ready et al. This splendid aural backdrop does add extra depth to the whole experience.
Elsewhere, Armando’s ‘Lightbox’ features his commentary on more photos. You can also use your tablet camera to splice yourself into shots with the band or give your tablet Genesis wallpaper. Superfluous? Maybe. Fun? Yep. It takes a while to get head and fingers around the layout, and a bookmarking facility would’ve been useful, but this is still a remarkably immersive way to enjoy a compendium of lovingly curated, high-end Genesis archive.
I Know What I Like is free to download from iTunes, but this full access version costs £14.99. It may sound steep, but it’s a third of the price of the original, you get a lot of Genesis for your money, and you’ll want to turn it on again, and again.