Video: Zammuto’s “The Shape of Things to Come”

Formerly one-half of experimental duo The Books, singer / multi-instrumentalist Nick Zammuto has gone the solo course, forming the aptly named Zammuto with a group of complementary musicians. Check out the multi-camera rehearsal piece for “The Shape of Things to Come,” complete with neck-bending perspectives.

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.

Todd Reynolds

Q&A: Todd Reynolds

Todd Reynolds: OuterboroughTodd Reynolds: Outerborough (Innova, 3/29/11)

Todd Reynolds: “Transamerica”

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Violinist, composer, and producer Todd Reynolds has taken on an outsider, almost renegade role in music. Though he had a strict classical upbringing and a leading seat in an orchestra, Reynolds took his own path for a more personal means of expression, utilizing electronic loops and effects as a context for his dizzying improvisational instrumentation and emotive compositions.

His new double album, Outerborough, is an all-encompassing look at the myriad ways that the artist creates and collaborates, with one half of the album composed and performed entirely by Reynolds, and the other a disc of Reynolds performing pieces written by friends such as Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong of The Books, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Phil Kline, and more.  Speaking with Reynolds from his home studio, the virtuoso experimentalist shares his passion for music and explains why he choose the path that he did.

What was your musical upbringing?

Well, I’ve been playing the violin since the age of four. Around high school, I ended up studying with the late, great violinist Jascha Heifetz, one of the most famous concert violinists who ever lived. I then went to music school back in Rochester, joined the Rochester Philharmonic, and was principle second violin. I then moved back to New York, went back to school, and began my career.

When did you start exploring electronics as part of your compositions?

Even from my earliest days of college, I was interested in the outside aspects and the avant-garde side of music. So I was pretty heavily invested in that music. But I started using electronics shortly after I left the orchestra. I went back to school to get a master’s degree, and it was in that time that I went in that direction.

The Groove Seeker: Zoon Van Snook’s (Falling From) The Nutty Tree

On a weekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.

Zoon Van Snook: (Falling from) The Nutty TreeZoon Van Snook: (Falling From) The Nutty Tree (Mush Records, 12/7/10)

Zoon Van Snook: “Lomograph”

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As Zoon Van Snook, UK-based oddball producer Alec Snook has released his debut album, (Falling From) The Nutty Tree. It’s a chameleonic kind of record; Snook uses everything from folk, jazz, hip hop, and IDM to create his style of cut-and-paste electronica.

Though the album has its scattered and weird moments, Snook’s knack for melody and rhythms make for an approach that is more contemplative than erratic. With plucked and chimed melodies over heavy, glitched-out beats, the record has a warm, well-textured sound.

Aside from Snook’s support of English indie bands I Am Kloot and Skunk Anasie, listeners received their first taste of his aesthetics with Snook’s 2008 four-track EP, Interviews and Interludes. The song “Bibliophone” from that record is a stuttering display of found sounds, household objects as percussion, reverse sampling, and temporal masking that makes for an experimental, glitchy IDM odyssey.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.

The Books

Concert Photos: The Books @ the Vic

Experimental duo The Books recently brought its meticulous audiovisual production to the Vic in Chicago. Touring in support of its July album, The Way Out (Temporary Residence), Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong played to a rapt, seated audience, with their trademark found-video mash-ups and cut-and-paste audio collages seamlessly synced. ALARM contributing photographer Samantha Hunter was on hand to capture the show.

The Books

See Chris Force and Sonnenzimmer at Public Works 2 tomorrow!

The Andrew Rafacz Gallery will finish up its weekly Speaker Series as part of Public Works 2: Art Show and Lecture Series tomorrow, Friday September 3, 2010.

Public Works will host another two-piece panel of art-industry professionals, including ALARM’s editor-in-chief Chris Force as well as graphic artists and screen-print studio owners Sonnenzimmer, featured in ALARM 35 and the inaugural issue of Design Bureau. The talks are scheduled for 7-9 p.m., followed by an hour-long reception with free beer and DJ Clerical Error.

The Black Heart Procession works with Lee “Scratch” Perry and Eluvium on new EP

Brooding indie rockers The Black Heart Procession have announced a limited-edition mini-album entitled Blood Bunny / Black Rabbit, to be released on October 12 (Temporary Residence Limited). The EP will include three new songs, a collaboration with reggae/dub pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry, and a 10-minute orchestral reconstruction of the song “Drugs” by ambient artist Eluvium.  Listen to the EP’s opening track below.

The Black Heart Procession: “Blank Page”


Additionally, in celebration of the album release, The Black Heart Procession will tour this fall alongside label-mate The Books (coming off its recent, stellar performance in Chicago’s Millennium Park).