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Zammuto – Zammuto February 18, 2012

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
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Artist: Zammuto

Album: Zammuto

Release: Temporary Residence, 2012

Genre: Experimental

RIYD: The Books, and there’s really nothing else like them

Zammuto’s self-titled debut suffers from the same timing issues that Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s debut did last year: since almost all of the tracks were posted as they were finished toward the end of 2011, the album already feels stale at the point of its initial release here in spring 2012. This is incredibly unfortunate, because Nick Zammuto (ex-The Books vocalist) makes some incredibly innovative and intriguing electronic music under his solo moniker, and its intent is to sound surprisingly shiny and new.

There are 10 non-interlude tracks on the album, and 7 of them were released sequentially as the demos were completed on The Books’ website. Rapid re-blogging from fans and music critics alike ensured that everyone who would be excited about this new project would be able to hear the demos immediately, and while it was great to be given so much free and wonderful music, most fans (including myself) had listened to each track over twenty times before the next one came around. Since most of the studio versions sound remarkably identical to the demos (as most of the tracks are based around samples that won’t really sound different in the studio), this “debut” release really only gives us three new songs. It feels more like the album was released last October and now we’re getting a 3-track EP of outtakes (albeit really, really good out-takes, as the new tracks “The Shape of Things to Come” and “Full Fading” are just as good as any of the one’s we’ve already experienced.)

Don’t get me wrong: Zammuto, when evaluated strictly by the quality of the music it contains, will no doubt be one of 2012’s best, and if you haven’t heard it, I’d say “lucky you” that you get to experience all of its exhilarating freshness anew, and in one sitting. It’s definitely on par with anything that The Books produced during their 4-album run (may they rest in peace) and hopefully the new band will be able to at least partially fill the gaping hole in the world of experimental electronic collage music left by their surprise break-up this January.

While I appreciate Nick’s generosity in including me in the recording process by giving me the pieces as he finished each one, and I do agree that all music should be made available to be shared freely, perhaps this album’s release cycle shows that there’s something to be said about the more traditional trend of hyping an album with one or two tracks while keeping the rest of it a surprise.

Zammuto – “Weird Ceiling”

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