the Books – A Cold Freezin’ Night from Paul de Jong / Nick Zammuto on Vimeo.

The Books do sound sampling cut-up like no one else, so visuals sliced up via the same mad genius come as little surprise. Heavily indebted to the work of pioneers like Emergency Broadcast Network, their videos still have the kind of sharp wit and child-like (or child-featuring) cleverness we love.

What you can’t see in the video above is just how thrilling The Book’s live show is. I got to catch this number at Boulder, Colorado’s Communikey Festival, and it brought the house down. Incredibly, their band of musicians, through some sort of android-like musical dexterity, execute their music’s intricate, asymmetric rhythms with complete precision. The video itself is just played back, but the music makes up for that.

And through all of it, the real stars here are the kids, which I think makes the results timeless. I’ll let you take it in for yourself. And yes, The Books have a new album coming. Stay tuned.


  • Kevin Hackett

    started off good, but this is psychotic and not funny. This is the kind of stuff that people with serious mental disorders make. Why did you post this?

  • Kevin Hackett

    And when did songs about killing with guns and torture become entertainment? This is wrong on so many levels.

  • Peter Kirn

    Because art isn't always supposed to make you comfortable?

    The samples are all real. Kids talk like this. Kids are violent and sometimes cruel. And yes, sometimes in a cathartic way people find revealing that entertaining or even funny. I think it's sort of what The Books do. If you don't like this, still worth checking out their other work.

  • Peter Kirn

    I'm certainly not advocating violence.

    I was the peaceful kid all the other kids were beating up, myself. 😉

  • Joni

    I found it worthwhile, thanks for posting it.
    Looking forward to the album do let us know when it gets released.

  • Tom Ellard

    It's OK, but like a lot of The Books stuff it feels (what's the word) safely embedded in the past – I thought that 'Lost and Safe' sounded like The Residents with all the bumps cut off – mostly because of the vocal style. Not too surprised to see the 'groovy' cover for the next one – they'll have to arm wrestle Boards of Canada for the We Are Proust crown.

    More interesting is how this relates to 'YouTube Poop' ( which is a movement (sorry) that I didn't know existed until it was mostly over. Cut-up went teen crazy with thousands of (mostly awful some great) cut ups being uploaded daily – as they say – they 'ran that shit into the ground'. Is it dada? Or just bored kids? Any difference? Nevertheless since that time a clip like this – no matter the quality – falls into the category of sophisticated YouTube poop. There's a PhD in that somewhere. And about 1,000,000 videos.

  • Kevin Hackett

    I never said it was not art and I never said it made me feel uncomfortable. I just feel that there are better things to be promoting, we have enough violence thrown at us everyday by the media.

    Kids talk like that because they hear others say it.

  • Joey

    @ Tom: While you might be right about an abundance of youtube poop, I'd love to know of any other band that combines meticulously chosen samples with live vocals, instrumentation and nifty glitchy electronica to such great (and often hilarious) effect.

  • Sam

    I'm really looking forward to the new album, especially the track with all the hypnosis samples. I saw them playing recently, and really enjoyed it and would recommend their live show to anyone.

    At the same time I suppose its not to everyone's taste. But what the hell is Kevin on about: "This is the kind of stuff that people with serious mental disorders make."