the Books

A blog by Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong of the band 'the Books'

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Jul 22

IDKT

Hey all,

IDKT is the second track from the record, and serves as a kind of fanfare for I Didn’t Know That, the Hebrew Stenography Funk Jam that follows. 

One of the strengths of Paul’s current sample library is it’s orchestral section, which includes beautiful vinyl based samples of orchestral instruments playing mostly open notes or simple scales. They are tremendously useful for building a big bombastic sound, and the vinyl surface keeps the mix fresh and alive and a bit unpredictable.  It takes a little work to get them all in tune (i always tune by ear, no auto-tuning allowed), and in this case I have purposefully left some of the tuba runs a bit ‘out’.  The library also includes some great rare and outdated instruments like krumhorns and sackbuts, viols, rebecs, and alpenhorns complete with cowbells in the background. 

The bass line is made from clavinet feedback.  One day I did an exhaustive session of clavinet recordings where I put my bass amp directly underneath the clav and turned it way up so that when I held a note down it would start to ring.  I particularly liked it when it would give a solid root with a strange interval high harmonic that would fade in from nowhere.  This is also the process used in ‘We Bought the Flood’ and in ‘A Little Longing Goes Away’ on Lost and Safe.

Right after we finished Lost and Safe, when I was living in North Adams on North Street, there used to be an antiques/junk store down on the corner of River and Houghton Streets near Mass Moca that we called Norm’s.  It’s now called Sanford and Kid which is where we found our awesome yellow couch:

 

Anyway, the first time I walked into Norm’s there was a Hammond M-100 Organ near the door.  He said he got it from a church and if I could move it I could have it for 100 bucks so I called my brother Mikey and we wrenched our backs up to north street with it.  It works flawlessly.  It doesn’t have the growl of the B-3 but it has the same set of tonewheels which give it a very fat solid sound with full drawbar control.  Nothing digital about it.  It generates sound electro-mechanically from spinning toothed wheels and magnets using additive synthesis.  It makes it’s Books debut in this track:

 

Paul also has a great collection of samples of mechanical instruments and music boxes.  The Bells and ratchet sounds in this track come from those sources.  He’s even got a real box that you can write your own music for on a punch card and feed it through.  Maybe you’ll see it on the fall tours… The Bells and ratchet sounds in this track come from those sources. 

Tomorrow I’ll write about I Didn’t Know That.

Thanks for reading,

Nick


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