The Books’ first album in five years marks the most sophisticated collage yet from the audio-ransacking duo of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong. Culling from 4,000 tapes collected on their last tour, The Way Out samples hypnotherapy gurus, answering machine messages, Talkboy cassettes of playfully violent children and other unlikely sources. It’s a meticulous yet absurd work to get lost in, like a labyrinth of shattered mirrors painstakingly reassembled.
The recurring motif of throwing off the ego is a fitting one for the Books, who aim to plunge the listener into a near hypnotic state where the detritus of recorded information — found and original recordings — can wash over the listener in one primal wave. The ear may rest on specific pieces, like seashells on the Pacific’s floor, but it’s all part of a vast ocean of sound. It’s folk music for the Digital Age — instead of the needle popping on a dusty field recording, you hear the catch of electronics, an anonymous voice calling out from the slipstream of time.
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