With a cut-and-paste musical aesthetic, The Books, a.k.a. Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong, didnʼt invent the audio collage, but they have perfected the idea of incorporating found sound into their music. Not interested in repeating snippets of sound or vocals as in hip hop, The Books use whole sections of speech, where natural pauses and repetitions create an atmosphere all their own. As Zammuto explains, The Books record “little pieces and use the computer to organize those bits.” The result is kind of less-is-more future-folk, cliché-free and miraculously organic. Stylus magazine comments, “The sample-heavy music of The Books provides post-modernists ample thought for food, casual listeners something to giggle at, and those in between something to marvel over.” The Books are just beginning to explore the balance between lyrics, found sounds, and traditional song structure. “Home studios have ushered in a new kind of folk music.” he says Zammuto. “Not to bastardize that word more than it already is, but it allows pretty much anybody to create music within small circles, within the context of their friends or families, and within their own homes. Itʼs a new way of working that allows us to live really close to the ground financially, and circumvent the whole pro-studio atmosphere and corporate aspect of music.”
The Books have always been an entity that defied category, or any definable aesthetic, which did little to box them into any critical holding pen. As XLR8R once put it, “It sounds like everything from Asiatic Appalachian folk to a soundtrack for a future where robots made of empty tomato cans, dam radios, and duct tape rule the world.”
On the heels of three critically acclaimed releases and worldwide tours, The Books went on hiatus to focus on family, deconstruction, reconstruction, film scoring, organic gardening, babies, and reassessment. Zammuto focused on family life and welcomed the birth of his second child, in late 2008, built a home studio, refined his “Sound Sculptures” (Most notable being his “Spoonbox”), gardening, and experimenting with new methods of making music. de Jong spent time adding to the band’s vast found sound archive, working on his solo work, canning, collaborating with Zammuto on a film score, and devoting more time to his family.
The hiatus proved to be a much needed break for the band and recently de Jong and Zammuto dusted off “the books” and sifted through archival material with a new record in mind. Plans are materializing for a 2010 release and promises to be the bandʼs most ambitious release to date.
Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong met in 2000 through a friend when they were living in the same New York City apartment building. Coming from vastly different backgrounds, they soon learned they had a shared love of acoustic music and found sound. They experimented and plunked away until, with some urging by Tom Steinle of Tomlab Records, they recorded what would become their debut album, Thought for Food, in 2002. The Books recorded and released The Lemon of Pink in the fall of 2003 and a year later began recording in an old Victorian home in North Adams, Massachusetts. With the release of Lost and Safe in April 2005, The Books departed from the “folktronica” sound they pioneered in their first two efforts, incorporating a new set of instrumental sounds, including vintage clavinet, as well as homemade electro-acoustic sound sculptures made from filing cabinets. Yes, filing cabinets.
“It is unique and addictive” – THE GUARDIAN UK
“They’ve taken moments of contemplation– when one understands something on an emotional level but can’t quite articulate his thoughts– and dressed it up in a melodic frame. immediately accessible despite absences of obvious reference points — (their) records felt like gifts, demanding little from the listener but paying
out handsomely.” – PITCHFORK
11/19 Waltham, MA Rose Art Museum
11/21 Bellingham, WA Mainstage
11/23 Los Angeles, CA Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
11/24 Seattle, WA Triple Door (2 sets, early and late)
11/25 Vancouver, BC The Clutch
11/26 Calgary, AB Broken City
11/27 San Francisco, CA Noe Valley Ministry
11/28 San Francisco, CA Noe Valley Ministry
11/29 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
11/30 Madison, WI Majestic Theatre
12/01 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center