“Dexterous musicianship and catchy pop writing are upgraded to hyper-reality… Zammuto blasts us with musical particles in narrow, swarming beams; each grain rendered with hallucinatory clarity…His joy upon discovering that he still had music to make is evident, and highly contagious” —Pitchfork
Minneapolis, October 22, 2012— Alt-pop conjurer Nick Zammuto (formerly of the Books duo) returns to the Walker with his cerebral and hyper-catchy electro-pop defined by dexterous musicianship and jaw-dropping rhythmic density on Saturday, November 10, at 8 pm, in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. Building up meticulous layers of found sound samples, intricate rhythms, and hooky vocals and again syncing his compositions with quick and expertly cut video sequencing, Zammuto offers a slyly silly and entirely fresh aural feast. Portland-based Eluvium opens the evening with his emotive and sonically subtle textures. Copresented with the Cedar.
Sprouting from the same mind that created the Books - one of the most acclaimed and innovative groups of the past decade - Zammuto marks a deep reinvention of the highly detailed, genre-defying spirit that made seminal albums such as The Lemon of Pink and The Way Out possible. Given the Books’ success as an experimental collage-pop project, founder and namesake Nick Zammuto could have comfortably extended that thread. Instead he has given us a record that is progressive and forward-looking, intense and driven, with hugely varied rhythms and melodies. The whispered, folksy vocals that became a trademark of the Books are for the most part shed in favor of an uncharacteristically confident, soaring delivery, often fueled by a wide array of vocal effects. The result is a man-machine sensitivity that ultimately enhances the songs’ emotional intensity. With dense and beautiful string arrangements by Gene Back (the Books) and brain-warping drum performances by Sean Dixon, the radical and varied sound of Zammuto leaps out of speakers with a searing directness.
Earlier this year, filmmaker Matt Day made a documentary about Nick Zammuto’s studio process, the home he and his wife built in Vermont, and the formation of the band leading up to their first shows last February. It can be viewed on Pitchfork TV
Introduced in 2003, Matthew Cooper’s Eluvium moniker was an unexpected breath of fresh air to an ambient electronic scene that was quickly losing steam. Influenced by neoclassical icons like Erik Satie and Philip Glass, the chance operations of John Cage, and the projects of Brian Eno, Eluvium snuck emotionally stirring melodies into a blizzard of haze and fuzz, and incidentally became a celebrated composer oft-mentioned in the same breath as many of his heroes.
Following the release of a handful of albums ranging somewhat dramatically in scope and sound (from minimal ambience and solo piano works to waves of longing distortions and modern classical compositions), Eluvium toured the world for several years, often supporting label-mates and close friends Explosions In The Sky. By the middle of 2008, Cooper was craving a new direction. After five albums in as many years, he was perhaps feeling a little complacent. For the first time since its inception, a year would pass without a new Eluvium album. In fact, three years would pass. During that time, Cooper released a stirring piano and modern composition album under his birth name (Matthew Robert Cooper – Miniatures), scored a full-length motion picture (Some Days Are Better Than Others, starring Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia/Sleater-Kinney and James Mercer of The Shins) and released a deluxe vinyl box set collecting his entire recorded catalog to date.
After completing (and subsequently scrapping) what was to be the follow-up to the classically leaning strings and horns of Copia, Cooper took a courageous creative leap with Similes, an 8-song album featuring three key musical elements previously uncharted by Eluvium: percussion, a verse-chorus song structure, and singing. Written, performed and recorded, as always, at his Watership Sounds studio, Cooper immediately followed Similes with his “ode to static,” the mammoth one-song, 50-minute Static Nocturne, released in a scarce limited edition on his own Watership Sounds imprint.
Though working on several projects currently, including music for filmmaker Cameron Crowe’s Vinyl Films imprint, Cooper has most notably returned to work on Nightmare Ending, which he considers to be the follow-up (or response) to his albums Copia, and Talk Amongst the Trees.
Tickets to Zammuto + Eluvium are $20 ($16 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
Look Up and Drink Up!
Meet the artists, talk about the show, and enjoy a drink at happy hour prices, including specialty cocktails with Prairie Organic Vodka. Located in the McGuire Theater, the Balcony Bar is open one hour before and after all evening performances.
Performing Arts Supporters
The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage Cowles; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.