Anchor is Out Now.  You can order the 'Home silk-screened limited edition colored vinyl LP w/DL code' in our webstore.  

We apologize for the quietness this year... one of my sons has had cancer (for the third time) and he's been going through some very harsh treatments for the last 6 months.  He's a tough kid and the prognosis is good but it's knocked us out this year.  Thanks for your endless and beautiful support through all of this.  We couldn't do it without you. 

Contact us: nzammuto@gmail.com
or our Amazing Label: Info@temporaryResidence.com

WE JUST RELEASED A NEW  EP CALLED VERYONE:  YOU CAN HEAR IT AND PURCHASE IT HERE: https://zammuto.bandcamp.com/album/veryone




The amazing Filmmaker, Garret Harkawik, made a film about us:

No Needle, Just A Haystack from Garret Harkawik on Vimeo.




 
Listen to Anchor:




Official Video of for IO with the trebuchet we built:

Official video for Great Equator made using Electron and Light Microscopes:


Our Indiegogo Campaign Video from Summer 2013: 

Zammuto LP 2 from Nick zammuto on Vimeo.

A video describing my method of rhythmically scratching the 'locked groove' of vinyl records:

Scratch Edition from Nick zammuto on Vimeo.

Bass Projector from Nick zammuto on Vimeo.

Filmmaker Matt Day made a documentary about the studio, the home we built in Vermont, and the formation of the band leading up to our first shows in 2012.  You can watch it now on Pitchfork TV  

 

Blog

Question About Song Variations 

kendrasollars asked: why are there slight differences in The Story of Hip-Hop on the digital version vs the vinyl? For example, on the vinyl version the narrator, about 10 seconds in, only hums twice as opposed to three times on the digital version and on the third a deep bass sound kicks in. There are a couple other differences I’ve noticed and was just curious about this.

Hey Kendra, It’s actually the medium itself that creates the difference. The bass response of vinyl, especially in the extreme low end, is greater than on a cd which clips against it’s 16 bit capacity. The sound under the third hum was pretty bassy and distorted to begin with, and neither medium is particularly good at reproducing sounds like that. Good ears…

thanks for writing.

Nick


Group Autogenetics II 

Hey all,

Along with Group Auto I and Chain of Missing Links, this track forms the third in the trilogy of hypno-themed tracks that bookend the record. There was such an avalanche of great voices from thrift shop tapes that it was clear early on that we had to spread them out over several tracks. Thinking in reverse, we knew that the final sample on the record would be:

“and it feels so good, so relaxed and so at ease, and you’re becoming the world and everyone in it”

This, of course, is a deep manipulation of the original tape… at some point Paul took on the singular mission of turning a weight-loss record into a weight-gain record. Despite it’s overt silliness, it is a strangely apt concept. The real subliminal voices out there do exactly this, chanting the mantra ‘more’. Not to pontificate too much, but it really seems that our culture is in the midst of a pathetic consumeristic trance.

Yet conversely, this sample also represents a hopeful kind of zeitgeist. I think of music as a survival instinct. There is so much noise all the time, so much conflicting and emotionally pointed information coming from all directions, we need a strategy for dealing with it so it doesn’t drive us crazy. Unprocessed noise is a drag on the mind: it either overwhelms to the point of numbness, or it corners you into becoming jaded and apathetic. Neither are ok. Sampling is a good practice for dealing with the noise: Find a quiet spot, pop in a random tape and simply sit and listen. Whether or not you agree with the material is not important, just try to hear what they are saying and save it if it resonates and otherwise let it go forever. Over time the fragments can be reconstructed into a world that is worth inhabiting.

Part of the attraction to these hypno-tapes is their innocent positivity. “Free we are from complexity.” They seem so certain that there is a pure state to return to, and we really want to believe them, and they honestly want to help us by offering guidance. As I was saying yesterday, most of us are guarded against this kind of straightforward manipulation, so we need to find a back way around. We need to scramble the words in order to disarm the bullshitometers, and somehow the essence of their voices still come through, despite our tampering.

The music for this track was made largely through PVC pipes with small speakers mounted to the ends of them. As part of a documentary we scored about the Biophere 2 project (hopefully out this year), I recorded a lot of little clicks and pops through this series of pipes that I cut to a root, a fifth and an octave. I also recorded bursts of noise and vinyl artifacts, as well, all of which you can hear in the opening minutes of the track. There are some sweet ”sung scales” from Paul’s library, and a beautiful glass harmonica note used here and there. The Hammond Organ also returns strongly in this track.

So that’s the end. I’m glad to have gotten it all out while it’s still fresh in my head. now I can move onto new work. I’m sorry if it is a bit TMI, but I needed to do it for some reason. For those of you who’ve requested that I write about tracks from the old records, I will at some point. I’m going to take a few days off from writing for now. If there’s something you want me to write about in the weeks to come, let me know.

Thanks again, everyone. It’s a pleasure and an honor.

Nick


Free Translator 

Hi Everyone.

This track came out of a simple concept that we discovered a few years ago. During the Lemon of Pink era, every so often we would get a review in a foreign language, like Japanese or Italian, and it seemed so exotic, of course, we would want to know what it said. In fact, sometimes we get reviews in English that look like a foreign language as well. We needed a translator so that’s when we discovered freetranslation.com. Of course there are a lot of machine translators out there and they’re always getting better, but sometimes better isn’t better… The mediocre translators often give the most poetic results, and we loved the foreign reviews because the translator made our record sound twice as interesting.

Machines are dumb, but sometimes they do brilliant things because they can’t help themselves. They don’t talk themselves out of anything, and so they just go for it. No judgement whatsoever. Taking advantage of machines in these moments is a great way to overcome the self-consciousness problem that Drew brought up in London (see post of July 21).

I think part of what we’re trying to do with the Books is to break the back of language, to bend it until it snaps and then examine the pieces to see what of it’s essence remains. Poets and songwriters have been in business so long, trying to say things in just the perfect way that they’ve crowded out the front door to meaning which is all tightly locked up by cliches. Essentially we’re looking for the back way around. So it’s really heartening to find a site like freetranslation.com that so egolessly shreds language like it’s making a vat of sauerkraut out of your precious word cabbages.

For this track we took a very well known folk song (which we’ve been advised not to name) and using free translation software, we translated the text into, for example, German, then into Italian, then into French, then into Swedish and then back into English. The results were spectacular. All of the imagery became completely warped, sentence structure was geniusly scrambled, errant nouns would inexplicably enter into strange situations… it became a machine free association on the original lyrics to the point that the ‘cover’ became a new original. Who wrote the song became completely unclear at this point… it became some mass collaboration of linguists, programmers and songsmiths. Both Paul and I translated an retranslated these lyrics so many times that new characters began to emerge and we made a collection of the best moments in our texts. I then set them to the music the best I could, adding conjunctions and fixing the rhythm of the sentences where necessary to make a smooth vocal line.

The “And I see” chorus became the keystone of the musical structure early on and we improvised a bit around it in London. Paul found that sample on an old folk guitar instructional record, and cut it from two instances of the same lyric over two different chords. That set the key and tempo of the track. The trick was figuring out a way to move off of those two chords, so the bass does the job of reframing the two chords so that the song move in a more interesting way. The alpenhorn solo at the end came straight off a Swiss record that Paul found, documenting the customs of a small town. The wind sound at the very end I made on one of Nigel’s very special vintage synthesizers by tweaking the frequency knob of a filtered white noise source. analog wind….

Tomorrow the last track on the record, Group Auto 2

Nick


The Story of Hip Hop 

Hey, good morning, just three tracks left!

Hip Hop the genre is largely credited to the Bronx block parties of the late seventies where, by popular demand, percussion loops were isolated and looped as a rhythmic bed for prototypical emcees. The origins of the term are fuzzy. I always assumed, apparently wrongly, that it had something to do with a variant on the genre bebop which inspired the improvised stylings of beat poetry, focusing on the rhythm and flow of language, but this is largely a false conflation caused by the hip in hipsters, i think. BTW, how many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?…phsht, you don’t know?!

The source material for this track predates “A Rapper’s Delight” by at least two decades and represents such a cosmic fluke, such a bizarrely anachronistic coincidence that we had to make a track out of it, even if it meant we had to suspend our “no breakbeat” policy briefly.

In the late fifties a group associated with an Esoteric Christian sect released a record for children that had four stories on it, two on side A and two on side B, all read by our very unlikely emcee. The stories were about a humming bird, a duck family, a kitty, and most importantly a “little green grasshopper named Hip Hop”. What are the chances of this? It’s downright mystical.

Paul gave me a copy of the record, which he found God-knows-where, and I busily set to work cutting out all of the useful nouns, adjectives and verbs from the four stories to recreate a story of Hip Hop, sans grasshopper. While rearranging the pieces I was particularly struck by Hip Hop’s tendency towards getting into trouble and the strange relationship he had to “flowers”.

Once the narrative had formed I started on the music, which had to be kind of a “Peter and The Wolf” mini-epic with outlandish breaks. Usually I avoid straight 4/4, but the ‘almost but not quite Hip Hop’ reference required a pseudo breakbeat skeleton. In fact, I borrowed Prefuse 73 as a temporary scratch track to help find the natural tempo of the narrator. I used Paul’s vast collection of percussion fragments and horn hits to create the basic rhythm with fills where needed. At some point Paul came up with the idea of sorting all of his short percussion and voice samples simply by duration and laying them back to back from shortest to longest. It resulted in a dizzying string of irrational yet compelling rhythms where it felt like anything could happen. I re-edited this “shorts-string” into some of the preposterous breaks that occur throughout the track. I had a particularly good time imagining what Skip Hop and Slide Hop sound like.

In London, Drew encouraged me to make some recordings of Nigel’s ‘magical’ acoustic guitar using an EBow. It was the fist time I ever used an ebow and I immediately fell in love. Infinite sustain…a dream fulfilled. Those recordings became the basis for the chords and melodies between the narrative sections. Sony’s (formerly Sonic Foundry’s) sequencing program Acid is particularly good for repitching notes quickly in the timeline. In fact, I use Acid (the program) for almost all of my sequencing.

Finally I had Mike Bell from Lymbyc Systymcome up and play some real drums in the studio. We recorded them with stereo overhead 414’s, and I later massaged them into place to give everything a more natural flow. Thanks Mike! If you’ve never seen Lymbyc Systym play, go! Amazing.

Tomorrow – Free Translator.

yours,

Nick


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  • Chris

    Chris Albion, CA

    Do you have FLAC downloads available? I love the sounds and would love to get a loss-less version.

    Do you have FLAC downloads available? I love the sounds and would love to get a loss-less version.

  • otto

    otto boston

    I was there yesterday in MIT, I loved your song!! Keep up the great work!

    I was there yesterday in MIT, I loved your song!! Keep up the great work!

  • Brandon

    Brandon New Orleans

    New Orleans fan right here! Bring it.

    New Orleans fan right here! Bring it.

  • Sarah

    Sarah Mobile

    One of my friends mentioned maybe going to an Explosions show in April, and I told him that he must go, so that he can see Zammuto! Tour the Gulf Coast sometime? I know you have fans in Mobile, and I'm sure New Orleans and Pensacola love you as well. Afternoon back yard garden show with kiddos running around? :)

    One of my friends mentioned maybe going to an Explosions show in April, and I told him that he must go, so that he can see Zammuto!

    Tour the Gulf Coast sometime? I know you have fans in Mobile, and I'm sure New Orleans and Pensacola love you as well. Afternoon back yard garden show with kiddos running around? smile

  • Jason

    Jason Canton, OH

    Good luck w/ the tour and the new album Nick! Jason / infraction

    Good luck w/ the tour and the new album Nick!
    Jason / infraction

  • avatar7

    avatar7 Pittsburgh

    I'll sweeten the deal... (or make it creepier, depending on one's personal paranoia...) you can crash at my place if not coming to Pittsburgh is for financial reasons and free lodging makes it logistically feasible.

    I'll sweeten the deal... (or make it creepier, depending on one's personal paranoia...) you can crash at my place if not coming to Pittsburgh is for financial reasons and free lodging makes it logistically feasible.

  • avatar7

    avatar7 Pittsburgh

    COME TO PITTSBURGH!!! (was I talking loud enough? do you think they heard me?)

    COME TO PITTSBURGH!!! (was I talking loud enough? do you think they heard me?)

  • Luke Smith

    Luke Smith Houston TX

    Please come and play in Houston. Please. Loads of bands shun us because they figure they'll just go to Austin instead. It's only 3 hours away, right? but I have to work! I can't go to Austin on a weeknight! I am getting a BUM DEAL. Please come to Houston.

    Please come and play in Houston. Please. Loads of bands shun us because they figure they'll just go to Austin instead. It's only 3 hours away, right? but I have to work! I can't go to Austin on a weeknight! I am getting a BUM DEAL. Please come to Houston.

  • Griffin Jones

    Griffin Jones Burlington, VT

    I :love: Zammuto!

    I love Zammuto!

  • aldo

    aldo new york

    please play in nyc again! the ecstatic music fest is too expensive! the 92y show blew my mind! where can i get a copy of achante and will you be releasing the soundtrack?

    please play in nyc again! the ecstatic music fest is too expensive! the 92y show blew my mind! where can i get a copy of achante and will you be releasing the soundtrack?

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