Nick Zammuto’s famous first project with Paul de Jong, The Books, garnered a lot of attention, particularly with their last album The Way Out. The split that occurred last year left fans with a lot of questions about solo projects and next steps. The first project to emerge, Zammuto’s self titled album, isn’t technically his first as a solo artist. It is however, his best.
Stigmas and idiotic Book freaks aside, Zammuto’s project is very Books related, almost like picking up a sequel to your favorite book series. But there are no trick pony’s here; this project takes sounds familiar to Books fans and puts a new spin on them, making for a chaotic style that is fun and combines a level of arrangement that is far more complicated than it may appear.
Chaotic sounds don’t sound very convincing to the average music listener, but what Zammuto does with synth sounds and broken up vocals is quite amazing. The opening track, “Yay” is a perfect example of how well experimentation and arrangement can be done. It opens with a high hat sustaining rhythm, and then kicks into these broken up vocals that do a great job of driving the rhythm and create a really interesting melody. Later other sounds come in, like synths, slinky sounding basses, and some really simple drumming.
Fans looking for more vocals, especially related to Books projects, will be happier here. Tracks like “Groan Man, Don’t Cry” employ a vocoder to the vocal track giving it a robotic type of sense. “F U C3PO” institutes the same vocal effects, but creates a more sinister atmosphere, complete with a driving acoustic guitar and bass. Really, the strangest thing on this album is the use of Auto-Tune on the track “Too Late to Topologize” which does it tastefully (“Death of Auto-Tune?” Yeah right Jay-Z.).
Zammuto’s creativity has the ability to outlast anything the Books ever put out; from it’s play with sounds, to it’s unique vocal patterns and placements, this may be the most creative and experimental album to emerge this year. Nick Zammuto’s knack for sound, song, and arrangement will see him going far in a great solo career. This is the album that will have you wondering: what would the Gorillaz, Andre 3000, and James Murphy track “DoYaThing,” arguably the best song released this year, sound like if Nick Zammuto took part.
Album Rating: Stream It or Digitally Download It (Legally of Course)
Listening Co-efficient: Active Listen
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