After spending a decade of his life recording with Paul de Jong, Nick Zammuto is once again taking up the solo career that he left grounded on the beach at the port of “Solutiore Of Stareau: Disc One” back in around 2001. Behind him lies the memory of that triple catalogue of glitch and also the four masterpieces of the now extinct The Books, one of the most fascinating and cutting-edge entities of recent contemporary music. But Zammuto knows that the world needs him and has come flying to the aid of his fans with this work, a self-titled album in which he seems to want to rejuvenate himself as a musician. It’s a slippery, foul-mouthed album that contrasts strongly with the figure we have of Zammuto these days: that of a man who grows vegetables with his wife and three kids in a cabin in Vermont that they built themselves. The thing is that setting aside that new age tendency that peeked out of some of the folds of the majestic “The Way Out”, “Zammuto” presents itself as its antithesis – a refreshing, playful album that emphasises its author’s sharper creative urge, reminding us that intellectually he is one of those personalities who never stop expanding in several directions.
A key piece of information that underlines this revitalisation of his figure is that the project is signed not only by him, but also by a band that he has set up specifically for it. Logically, there are still plenty of aesthetic connections with The Books - loads of them - but even considering the physicality displayed by the authors of “The Lemon Of Pink” in their concerts, the logistics and dynamics are different here. The fact that they work as a larger team leads one to think of how it will translate into a live performance, more often than with the duo. And this leads us to deduce that what he is trying to implement - rather than an unblinking folk syntax based on samples (although he continues to use pearls found in distant ponds, like the dramatic recording recited by a crab and titled “Crabbing”) - is something else. Here he tends towards musical mechanics that distance themselves from a digitally virtual quality, to link with aspects of - for example - the lab-rock of Battles. In other words: if The Books were the mind, Zammuto alone would be the body.
Our man has said that what he is trying to do with his new band is focus on the organic quality of the elements, and he couldn’t have given us an album that is more aligned with this declaration. Everything flows and bounces, full of life. There are various sections recorded with an autotune, but they don’t sound cold. There are crazy organs, but they seem to be roaring with laughter at indietronica. There are infinite tremolos and epileptic guitars, but more than trembling, the shaking seems to be those of his engine running. Everything seems to be made of an unbreakable methacrylate, but then suddenly it bursts into a thousand pieces as if it had crashed into a tile on the floor. His abstraction, instead of flying as high as in The Books, is kept on a shorter leash. After listening a few times, it ends up solidifying into a ceaseless flow of ideas that at first can only be caught on the fly. It seems that Zammuto’s imagination, as has occurred literally in his real life, has gone from chemical work to carpentry. Furthermore, the opposites that he likes so much to play with (wisdom/absurdity, complication/serenity) are still red-hot. Once again, highly admirable.