21: Nick Zammuto

The Beatles released their album, Rubber Soul, in 1965. This album includes a track titled “In My Life” that features an instrumental bridge created through a clever production trick by George Martin. A similar technique was utilized nearly four decades later by The Books on their album, The Lemon of Pink. The Books were known for making use of sounds and audio samples that aren’t typically heard in music. The Books disbanded in 2012, but Nick Zammuto is continuing to find creative approaches for organizing sound with his new band, Zammuto.

George's Books Collection

George’s Books Collection




Learn about Nick’s decision to leave the world of chemistry to focus on creative uses of sound in this conversation recorded before a recent performance in Evanston, Illinois. Find out more about Zammuto and The Books and listen to samples of songs that were mentioned in the episode below:



Nick’s sound sculptures (including ‘A Shy Rock Star’ and ‘Spoon Box’):

A documentary part of the ‘Naked Musicians’ project by filmmaker Matt Day on Zammuto and Nick’s family.

The video from which Nick used the audio for the beginning of ‘Motherless Bastard’ on their 2002 debut Thought for Food.

The first song The Books ever wrote together:

From their 2005 album Lost and Safe (listen out for the ball bounce at the beginning):

From their second release The Lemon of Pink Nick ‘pulled a George Martin’ and slowed down the track for the guitar riff:

The four songs The Books wrote for the Ministry of Culture’s elevator in Paris, France:

From their final album The Way Out in 2010 they used answering machine tapes for the audio samples in this song:

George’s Tribute to the Books:

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