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The Way Out

The Way Out
Composer: The Books
Conductor: The Books
Label: Temporary Residence Limited
Release Date: 2010-07-28
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

Duo the Books return after a four-year break with a tongue-in-cheek ode to New Age nuttiness. Stylistically, Paul de Jong and Nick Zammuto continue to mine thrift-store cassettes for delightfully odd found sounds that they stitch and loop together into digital pop-music collages. Calm, soothing voices invite the listener to “go deeper and deeper” over a minimalist strings track on album opener “Group Autogenics I,” preparing for the ensuing bizarre, hypnotic oddysey. The bouncy “Cold, Freezin’ Night” abandons the mystic theme for a hilarious and creepy dialogue between children. Kids saying “asshole” never fails to amuse, and somehow neither does another child declaring, “I can kill you any way I want to, probably by cutting your toes off and working my way up … to your brain!” Ah, kids — they’re so weird. But so are our trusted guides into meditative bliss. The album’s closer is a peaceful mash-up of transcendentalism. “Stare at yourself in the mirror until you feel a burning sensation,” intones one guru; “your eyes remove themselves from your body, for your own good,” instructs another. But while the album pokes gentle fun at such out-of-body directives, by abandoning all form, the Books also achieve a stylistic nirvana.

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