the Books

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

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Jul 30

A Wonderful Phrase By Gandhi

Hi Everyone.

In 1931 Mahatma Gandhi was asked by Columbia Gramaphone to make a record for them.  With some second thoughts, he decided to record an essay that he had written called 'On God'.  It is one of the best recordings of his voice still in existence, and Paul had found several instances of it on various historical LP’s in his collection.  We used a small fragment of this speech for the track.  There is no way to improve upon what he says, so we used it exactly as it was found:

I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing, ever dying there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. 

It’s an extraordinary sentence.  I love the idea of ‘dimly perceiving’, like it’s way out there and there are many layers of dirt and dust in the way of clearly seeing it.  Form is empty as everything is cycling into everything else, yet there must be a background to this foreground; a stable arena for all of this activity. 

Mostly I think of this track as a P.S.A.  Everyone should know what Gandhi’s voice sounds like; it’s timbre communicates so much regardless of what he’s saying,  if we can help spread it in our small way it seems worth the 18 seconds. 

Secondly, we had used a fragment of Einstein’s voice talking about Gandhi on the ‘Lemon of Pink’ in the track ‘There Is No There’ so it seemed a natural follow up.  Einsteins voice has quite a similar sage-like quality to Gandhi’s.

Thirdly, it refracts the title of the record in an important way.  “The Way Out” apart from it’s literal meaning as an ‘exit’ or ‘escape’ or it’s psychedelic meaning ‘far out’, it also has a deeper interpretation that this sample points towards.  In fact, the more I thought about Gandhi’s statement the more it became a kind of sampler’s ethos.  All of these elements are ripped from their context like shards of a broken mirror, yet through the process of working with them they begin to triangulate an underlying unity that is not accessible directly.  As the Buddhists would say they are like a finger pointing to the moon, and one shouldn’t mistake the finger for the moon.

Tomorrow ‘We Bought the Flood’,

best,

Nick 


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