Sunday, February 5, 2012

Zammuto @ 92YTribeca (02.04.2012)

Recently Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong announced that they were calling it quits as The Books. This news came as a blow to fans of experimental music; The Books created some of the most stunning, singular pieces of music of the last ten years (check out our recording of them at Zankel Hall). They combined fragmented samples from sources as disparate as lost vinyls, old Talk Boy tapes, and golf instruction videos with aspects of classical music and electronic/folk music into a one of a kind sound. However, with the news of the bands demise also comes Nick Zammuto's new band, simply titled after his last name. The new band consists of brother Mike Zammuto on bass, Gene Back, an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, and New York City drummer Sean Dixon. This promising new four-piece is more rock focused, and takes their cues more from Paul Simon and Radiohead than relaxation tapes. We caught their second live show as a band at 92YTribeca.

The night opened with the screening of Achanté, a short film about Haitian voodoo by director Emily McMehen and composed by Nick Zammuto. The 35 minute film was engaging and offered an intense look at voodoo culture, including rituals, animal sacrifice, dancing, and a day of the dead like ceremony. Throughout the film Zammuto's music swells appropriately, filling with competing drum beats and swirling vocal chants. I really enjoyed it and suggest seeing it if you get the chance, and would also suggest checking out the soundtrack when it sees release.

After the film, Zammuto quickly arranged themselves on stage. The show combined new Zammuto songs from the bands upcoming LP (some of which have already seen release, such as the fantastic F U C-3PO) with a few choice tracks from The Books (including a beautiful acoustic rendition of Smells Like Content). The new band's songs have a more acoustic, analog sound than did Zammuto's last project. I preferred the songs which combined electronic beats with Nick's affected vocals and the band's guitars (like Too Late to Topologize and Yay) to the quieter, more hushed songs. This may have at least been partially due to the venue; the bar was very loud during the performance, making it difficult at times to maintain focus on the band, and the sound was not impressive whatsoever.

Check out Zammuto's Idiom Wind EP!
Zammuto - Idiom Wind EP - Make Mine, London UK by zammuto

Sean Dixon sounded great on drums. His beats have a tribal, African flavor to them perfectly suited to Zammuto's style. Mike Zammuto sounded great on bass, especially on Classy Penguin, a song he wrote for The Books. Gene Back was again impressive, just as he was when we saw The Books last year. At points he was simultaneously playing guitar and organ! Overall the new band mates should be able to achieve great things together.

Zammuto isn't The Books. What they are is a new band that has a chance to create exciting and innovative music of their own. I'm not sure whether or not this new project will reach the same heights of the previous one, but either way this concert was a testament to the band's ability to produce stunning, one of a kind music.

Download the live recording HERE (password= twosails)

1) Groan Man, Don't Cry
2) Idiom Wind
3) Too Late to Topologize
4) Yay
5) 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon Cover)
6) Smells Like Content
7) All You Need Is A Wall
8) F U C-3PO
9) Harlequin
10) (Band Introductions)
11) The Shape of Things to Come
12) (Encore)
13) Classy Penguin


1 comment:

  1. Still awaiting news on any type of release for Achante. I've asked Nick if there was any hope for the release of the soundtrack, even, but I guess there's complications. That was 2 years ago.
    I really need to see this again.