Footnotes and Appendices
May 23, 2012 10:00 AM   Subscribe

The Books were a two-piece band consisting of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong. Their albums (Thought For Food (2002), The Lemon of Pink (2003), Lost and Safe (2005), and The Way Out (2010)) consisted of a mixture of found audio, constructed sounds, languid vocals, and traditional instruments, but with a warm, solid feel to the proceedings despite the amount of audio manipulation. The band broke up earlier this year, but Nick Zammuto has released a new album from his new band, the self-titled Zammuto. (The music here definitely shares DNA with The Books, but there's a more electronic feel to them.) When The Books' final album, The Way Out, debuted, the band discussed the genesis of each track on their blog (discussed on MeFi), which was a fascinating look into the creative process. This look continues as, over on a new Tumblr blog, Nick Zammuto has begun telling the story of The Books from the beginning (part two, part three). If you're a fan of The Books, of music creation, or of just how art is inspired, the three parts to date are great reading, and promise more to come.
posted by Legomancer (14 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Cool! I'm going to go through these links, and then I have two or three whisky sodas.
posted by Beardman at 10:18 AM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

awesome. i love this band. thanks!
posted by fuzzypantalones at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2012

This is the first I'd heard about their breakup, that's a pity. I really liked the stage show they did for The Way Out.
posted by whir at 10:40 AM on May 23, 2012

Nice! love the books.
I recently saw Zammuto's "Real Beauty Turns" as part of a (wonderful! incredible! marvelous!) concert/multimedia show at MIT. The whole night was memorable but Zammuto's video in particular stuck with me (my immediate reaction was "WHOA HOLY CRAP SO MANY ESSAYS COULD BE WRITTEN ABOUT THIS"). sad to hear they've concluded the books, but now they can each make some killer stuff in new directions!
posted by ghostbikes at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2012

Ah damn. I didn't know they broke up. That's a bummer; I really love them. Alas. But this is a great post. Thanks!
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:02 AM on May 23, 2012

I saw them play at the Modern in Fort Worth last year (or maybe the year before? it was sometime this century, for sure). I thought the first 15 minutes was really interesting, with synced-up video behind them. Then I fell asleep. It didn't help matters that the venue was a lecture hall not unlike you'd find at any university - very stark and unconcertlike with comfortable padded seats and an outstanding climate control system. I woke up at the end of their set.

My girlfriend loved the show, however. She really does have the best and most interesting musical taste of anyone I've ever been with. I didn't always think this was an important attribute and put up with some horrible music under the guise of politeness.
posted by item at 11:09 AM on May 23, 2012

The blog entries are great reading. Incidentally, I was playing with noisy-as-hell electronic music at the same time Zammuto got started, but I was like 17 making my own pile of unlistenable albums. I recorded under the name 'Neutron Star' (because they're really heavy!) and distributed cassette tapes of 20+ minute industrial-noise pieces around my high school. And then I went off to art school in Boston with an extremely limited set of resources for sound art, and didn't quite have the wherewithal to really push on the sound angle. So I ended up in a kind of photo-negative of Zammuto's trajectory, leaving the art school after lots of aimless experimentation, and finishing my degree in math. (And later getting a phd and so on.) The reasoning at the time was that it would be fairly easy to get back into art if I decided to later, but that the math would be much harder to excel in with a bunch of years of down-time. At this point, I don't draw at all anymore, really, though I have the most beautiful math notebooks you'll ever see! I do still play music though, sketching out little songs on the ukulele and singing up a storm. I've been toying with the idea of going back to electronics and charting out some new directions, though, as traditional songwriting structures have felt kind of un-fun and constraining lately...

I'm definitely looking forward to listening to the solo Zammuto stuff when I get back to civilization!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:17 AM on May 23, 2012

This question has been eating at me since I found out: why oh why OH WHY did they break up? Did their label rip them off? Did Nick and Paul realize that they hate each other? I love them, and for some reason that has compelled an inordinately thirsty thirst to know what happened what happened what happened.

Can anyone tell me?

Again, anyone familiar with The Lemon of Pink knows that my username is from a prominent sample used on that album.

posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 12:21 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

The "Prefuse 73 reads The Books" is also really pretty good.
posted by freebird at 12:23 PM on May 23, 2012


This is all I can find.
posted by Legomancer at 12:37 PM on May 23, 2012

Oh this is sad. I didn't know that they were breaking up.

The Books were the soundtrack to my college years. Shortly after the release of "Thought for Food" I wrote Paul de Jong a letter. I saw on his website that he had composed some music for films that just featured his solo cello work. I wrote and asked where I could find a copy of the music. He sent me back a CD full of music for FREE. In the package was a little note that asked that I send back a CD of music that I liked. It was a surprising and lovely gesture.
posted by geryon at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2012

Wait...what...The Books broke up?!?!. Noooooooooo0000000zerozerozero

I found out about The Books on the blue on August 3, 2010! I bought all their albums! I even missed seeing them at the 9:30! Ugh.

Sad now. But thanks for posting the Zammuto/Zammuto material.
posted by the sobsister at 3:18 PM on May 23, 2012

Yikes. From the Pitchfork link, it really doesn't sound like they parted on the best terms. That's really too bad -- they were one of my favorite groups and had a really beautiful, unique sound. Thanks for the links, though.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:31 PM on May 23, 2012

Thanks. The Books are one of the many gifts that Metafilter has given me, and this post is another.
posted by gamera at 5:42 PM on May 23, 2012

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