the Books

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

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Jul 25

Beautiful People

Hey,

Beautiful people,  happy full moon.

Apart from being called a nerd countless times in the most public of ways, i’m really pleased with the response to this track so far.  In the vast hymnal of songs written about the twelfth root of two, this one seems to be finding it’s place, alleluia.  I know Urban Outfitters likes it, and they’re not geeks…

Seriously, if you’re going to memorize the first six digits of any irrational number, this is the one to know.  1.05946…  it’s the number that multiplied by itself 12 times gives you 2.  It’s implicit in all modern music.  Totally ubiquitous, really interesting, and yet no one ever talks about it.  We should start a list of things like this, feel free to add… i’ll start it off.

List of “Ubiquitous things that are really interesting that no one ever talks about”

1. the font Helvetica.

2. Right angles in architecture (why so many).

3. Sugar maples.

Please send more in… i’ll add them to the list.

I covered most of the backstory of ‘Beautiful People’ in my blog entry of April 28th, so I won’t repeat any of that.  Instead I’ll write a bit about singing:

I feel like the worlds most unlikely singer.  If you had told me even five years ago that my livelihood would involve singing, I would have laughed (in a panicky kind of way).  It’s friggin’ terrifying to sing in front of others, and in a way even more terrifying to hear recordings of yourself singing.  It took me a long time to get over this hump and be less fearful, and learn how to listen to my own voice with some detachment.  there’s still a ways to go, i’ll never be crazy uninhibited with my voice, but this record was a good excercise in expanding it’s range.

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of hearing a recording of yourself and having this visceral feeling of non-recognition, like “that’s not me, that’s not what i sound like in my head”.  And that’s pretty true, there’s a lot of flesh and bone between your voice and your ears that other people don’t have when your speaking to them.  It’s like this scary but sort of wonderful “self-as-other” moment;  a kind of miniature existential crisis.  I’ve never gotten over that feeling of “self-as-other”, i’ve just gotten used to it.  In a way, my voice will never be my own, and i find that to be freeing.  It’s like i don’t have to worry about misconstruing myself for myself, because it’s guaranteed by my existence, and therefor nothing to worry about.  Know what I mean?          

I’m not trying to wax philosophic here… this is a very practical thing to know.  All that connects me to “my voice” is a very imperfect feedback loop, so at some point it stops making sense to call it “my voice” at all.  It’s more like “the voice”, and everyone has “the voice” so it can become a celebrated universal thing, instead of an exercise in ego flaunting.  It re-frames the position of the singer to within the audience, rather than in front of it.

I think this is part of why harmony singing is such a powerful thing.  The voice can be spread across several individuals in a way that they can form a sonic agreement without saying exactly the same thing.  In the case of this track, it’s different instances of one voice, which twists the idea of a ‘congregation’ in some strange way, but it’s too late to go there, I need to sleep.

Goodnight, tomorrow: “I Am Who I AM”.

Nick 


Page 1 of 1