Their work would proceed to evolve over the course of the subsequent decade and three successive albums, however all the weather actually had been there proper from the start. Certainly, one take heed to “Get pleasure from Your Worries, You Could By no means Have Them Once more” might be sufficient to inform in case you’re on the Books’ weirdo wavelength or not. Zammuto’s guitar harmonics lead into sounds of golf and tennis on tv, rhythms produced from tactile ASMR-esque sounds, hen calls, a rant from a courtroom TV present, and dialogue from an obscure Russian movie. One way or the other, it really works. It sounds oddly accessible, even stunning. “Simply by inserting two disparate components subsequent to one another, they instantly begin a dialog as your mind tries to wrap itself round their relationship,” Zammuto says. “And I believe it’s your thoughts itself that creates that relationship in a whole lot of methods. And that’s what the music is about, is the power of the thoughts. … Given any two issues, your mind will fill within the hole, and we’re at all times enthusiastic about how massive we will make that hole earlier than it falls aside.”
That juxtaposition of disparate components to create stunning connections — and finally, that means — is on the coronary heart of the Books’ work. They pattern daytime tv one minute and a Jean-Luc Godard movie the subsequent, and each are given equal weight. It doesn’t matter the place a pattern originates. It doesn’t essentially even matter what it’s saying. In some methods, their songs really feel extra like sculptural objects fabricated from sound than conventional music as we consider it. “It’s very very similar to reduce and paste poetry,” de Jong instructed Pitchfork in a 2003 interview. “As a baby I used to be drawn very strongly to the collage artwork of the Dadaists, Surrealists, and Fluxus. Written or printed phrases by no means stood alone; many artists invented methods to append visible and theatrical dynamics to their literary roots and got here up with a sum exceeding the components … It’s like listening to a portray. Once I’m studying poetry, I hear it. Once I see a road signal or a banner, I hear it, and nearly routinely begin rearranging phrases on the premise of aural connections I make. It’s listening to what I see and seeing what I hear that unveils surprising that means, humorous or profound, from the uncooked materials.”
What’s simple to overlook when discussing the Books’ music is how unpretentious and humorous it really is. The samples are at all times in dialog with one another, they usually usually hit like absurdist punchlines. The opening of “Motherless Bastard” is a priceless black comedy skit that segues into one of many document’s most straightforwardly stunning and emotional compositions. “All Our Base Are Belong To Them,” probably the most transferring tracks on the album and the one one to function non-sampled vocals, is known as after a dumb early web meme. “Contempt” recontextualizes Brigitte Bardot’s attractive dialogue from Godard’s 1963 movie of the identical identify right into a dry dialog between two males recited with all the fervour of studying a phonebook. Actually, the Books’ biggest magic trick might need been their capacity to experience the effective line between humor and pathos, wackiness and profundity, with out settling definitively on both aspect.
That’s a fragile balancing act, and the Books weren’t at all times profitable. Thought For Meals is a singular, stunning, and sometimes transcendent piece of labor, however it’s on no account an ideal album. The squelchy “Mikey Bass” and “Deafkids” are extra attention-grabbing than they’re fulfilling to take heed to, and “A Lifeless Fish Beneficial properties The Energy Of Statement” is a blessedly transient one-note joke that nearly threatens to cease the album’s momentum useless in its tracks. Zammuto and de Jong would arguably go on to larger issues with 2003’s The Lemon Of Pink, persevering with to experiment with non-sampled singing and barely extra standard tune buildings earlier than calling it quits in 2012 and pursuing separate solo careers. However there’s an innocence and a purity to the simplicity of Thought For Meals that can at all times stay. “How do you do? Welcome to the human race. You’re a large number,” says a voice pattern on “All Our Base Are Belong To Them.” Thought For Meals is the very best sort of mess — a gorgeous, devastatingly human one.