Zammuto // Zammuto // April 3 // Temporary Residence
Sampling is nothing new, everybody does it. That said, only few people manage to do nothing but sampling and come away with great results. The Avalanches is the first name that comes to mind. Their still amazing and fresh sounding LP Since I’ve Left You combined every sound imaginable to make for some brilliant pop tracks. New York’s The Books have never been interested in going down that path. Their albums were always more difficult and less straight forward. They split up but don’t cry, group’s leader Nick Zammuto is carrying on with the tradition on his debut LP Zamutto.
Coming out earlier this year with the EP Idiom Wind, Zammuto has established that he’s not going to reinvent the wheel on his new project. All the tracks feel at home on the debut album which feels at home with the rest of the stuff that Zammuto did as part of The Books. If anything, the LP is more song based which would require it to have something memorable about it. Then again, this is the member of The Books that we’re dealing with. While Zammuto does pack something that comes closer to actual songs, they are neither engaging nor memorable enough to make them stand out, making the album feel as a lacklustre collage of sounds that don’t feel like they’re fulfilling their potential. It might be the lack of layers or the choice of samples but Zammuto feels overly bare and not complex enough to make it as an interesting sample based record.
Zammuto deals with folktronica, which is alright if you’re still into that kind of stuff in 2012 (bless you). The wilderness feel it aims for is largely nailed with the sampling of violins and simple beats, although when it comes to wilderness feel, Zammuto could take a book or two from The Caretaker’s book as the album feels almost too polished to induce that feeling of escapism. What really lets it down is the vocal samples. From the stuttering on Yay to the clear singing on The Shape Of Things To Come, not to mention the facepalm worthy addition of Microsoft Anna here and there, the many voices of Zammuto does not add any depth, instead stripping the record of any subtlety that it might have had in the first place. Like the cover of the album which feels back to the basics and down to earth, until you notice the ridiculous and out of place font streaked across right in the middle. Zammuto is two different worlds that just down meet in the middle, a big no for any album that relies on sampling.
It’s quite underwhelming but in the end, the logical outcome of The Books split is the biggest disappointment here as Zammuto feels like a part of what the trio were doing in the first place. If you can’t improve on in then don’t fix it. Zammuto ignored that as the debut LP offers a simplified sample collection that just doesn’t introduce anything new to replace the weird, all over the place charm that Zammuto doesn’t try to recreate on here. Considering that The Books’ split was announced only few months ago, the lacklustre nature of Zammuto really makes it that much more painful.