Temporary Residence Ltd., 2012

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Well...that was interesting.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is going through the Daily Vault “Best Of” lists, which provides me with enough material to listen to for months. The diversity and wide array of tastes that our staff has always amazes me, because they are usually are so very different than mine. Ken DiTomaso’s list had a few records that I was aware of, but the record sitting in the #1 spot intrigued me. The Books and Nick Zammuto were unfamiliar names, but Ken’s unbridled enthusiasm prompted a quick Spotify search, and lo and behold there was Zammuto.

I’ve probably listened to Zammuto at least 10-12 times now and really am no closer to getting a hold on the album than was I on the first listen. Don’t take that as a criticism of the record; it was actually meant as a compliment. This is a gloriously my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 weird production that makes no concessions to what one would consider the “mainstream.”

The idea of the garage band as it was once constituted has been dead for some time; Zammuto is a record that represents what it has now become. This certainly doesn’t sound like the record label, producer, and marketing department all gave notes to Zammuto and said, “This is the direction we should be going in.” This is his record.

If there is one unquestioned strength that Nick Zammuto seems to possess, it would be his skill at production. The rdisc uses modern recording techniques very efficiently for its own purposes without becoming a slave to them. The Auto-Tuned, Vocoder-style vocals rarely distract from the songs; in fact, they help to set the tone for the album as a whole. There seems to have been a backlash against such effects in music, but when used in this manner that criticism lacks substance.

One might initially begin to categorize Zammuto in the electronic oeuvre, but that would be missing the forest for the trees. There are definitely shades of elecronic in here, to be sure. The aforementioned vocal stylings bring to mind Imogen Heap and there’s definitely a trip-hop influence to be found at various points on the record. But Zammuto also dabbles in ‘60s era pychedelia and even, dare I say it, modern rock.

Zammuto is clean-sounding and precise in all the ways you’d want a record like this to be. There’s very little filler, and Zammuto deserves credit for not indulging himself. When he finds something that works, whether it be a quick little flourish or strong beat, he does not linger on it. The ability to edit oneself is a talent that gets overlooked in music, and it is an ability Zammuto most certainly has.

I said earlier that it’s been very difficult to get inside Zammuto, but that’s hasn’t diluted the enjoyment of listening. It’s been a few weeks, and the most random snippets have popped into my head at random intervals. It’s difficult for me to say that this is a good album; it’s far too fragmented in its approach. But those individual moments, those bits that capture attention – well, Zammuto has plenty of those.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Temporary Residence Ltd., and is used for informational purposes only.