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Album Review

Audio alchemist and one half of the gorgeously fragmentary pop team The Books, Nick Zammuto makes his solo debut with this full-length under his last name. There's a roving chaos to the disc, not completely divorced from the springy shifts of his other band, but definitely a different animal. Album opener "Yay" suggests a logical progression from the lighthearted cut up mentality of The Books with overdriven drums and tremeloed vocals pushing the driving melodies along. Other voices wail out in the background as anthemic keyboards explode out of the choruses. The song is brilliant, capturing some midway between Sung Tongs-era Animal Collective and The Books' high water mark album The Lemon Of Pink. Unlike the sample-happy, often instrumental fragmentary pop the Books are known for, vocals take a frontseat on here, almost every song revolving around heavily processed singing. "Groan Man, Don't Cry" comes off like Bon Iver's cameos on Kanye tracks with it's vocoded vocals. "F U C-3PO" has a similar robotic menace to it. This song and a few others fall into the final product of modernized prog rock, futuristic synth stabs aggressively competing with acoustic guitars like a cousin of Battles. "Zebra Butt" takes the vocoding one step further by replacing processed human vocals with a computerized female voice reciting lyrics. The same gift for arrangement that Nick Zammuto put to incredible work on previous productions is still present here, if less overtly. The string bass and found-sound bicycle bell melodies of "The Shape of Things To Come" dance with spare hand-clap rhythms. The production makes the song and it's an example of tension building and releasing nicely.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Aside from performing in the sonic collage duo the Books, Nick Zammuto recorded computer-based music on the side under his surname. Zammuto's first albums were atmospheric, starting with 2000's Willscher and the 2001 triple CD-R Solutiore of Stareau. These early works were ambient, hypnotic, and glitchy. However, over time, playing with the Books encouraged Zammuto to branch out and incorporate live instrumentation. After a stopgap to concentrate on the Books' The Way Out, Zammuto returned with a...
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Zammuto, Zammuto
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