Review

Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 495, October 5, 2005

I am not sure if the Dinosaur… in the title is meant to be the dinosaur band who just released a new studio CD, their first in eight years, but let’s hope that in thirty years time, Books on Tape, will sounds as energetic on his new album. Books on Tape is the beat-punk project of Todd Drootin, from Los Angeles. His previous releases were made available as MP3 as-well as on CD and 10” by No Type. On his new release he offers fourteen catchy tunes of punk inspired techno/hip hop music. They are cut with the speed and energy of punk but all created with electronica. Books on Tape likes to play around with the sounds from organ (or perhaps a plug in thereof), creating a fat tune, throwing in a few guitar samples and the occasional vocal snippet. Not every track is up-tempo, but they are all played with a certain rawness that is not seen often in the world of smooth electronics. It may seem that I think this is all just thrown together, but it’s not: the tracks are made with great care, close eye for detail. It progresses from Sings the Blues, adding more variety to the dish, but maintaining it’s raw power.

On the same label, but something entirely different is Nadja. With the previous release I Have Tasted The Fire Inside Your Mouth, Nadja was still a solo project of the omnipresent Aidan Baker, but now it’s Baker on guitars, vocals, drum programming and Leah B. on bass and vocals. Truth Becomes Death is the first release on a ‘real’ CD. When Baker has his solo hat on, playing his ambient guitar pieces, I am usually (not always) quite pleased, but with the first Nadja that wasn’t the case, and also Truth Becomes Death is not much of my coffee. Let me state I like drone rock, I like Earth, Sunn O))), Troum and all the heavy weight ambient music makers, and to a certain extent I enjoy Nadja too. The slow, spiraling sound of a drum-machine set against the wall of guitars, bass and vocal howls is quite nice, at times. But the sound is too full, too dense, with not much air (and probably intended to be like that, no doubt), but it’s a bit too blurry for me. The details are gone, admits in this vast mass of sound. Not bad, but perhaps not my thing to the extent that I would play this very often.

… cut with the speed and energy of punk but all created with electronica.

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