True acts of solitude should go unnoticed, which is why I’m hesitant to talk about The Lemon of Pink. Better to just let it be. Better to just let this stainless artifact with its deep warrens of sound exist alone and far away from this life. It’s too alive with error messages and backwardly incompatible. Singer and producer Nick Zammuto, cellist Paul de Jong, and vocalist Anne Doerner built a paradoxical space, an alien world that is pressed up against the skin of our own. All these recondite voices stitched together with skeins of guitar and banjo and cello are a drug, a thick scrim laid over this world that can allow for one real, organic moment of solitude.
When the music of The Books arrived, it was precisely this kind of implacable feeling that garnered the album so much praise. It didn’t seem to be connected to any other sounds or styles at the time, and Zammuto credits Mark Richardson’s revelatory 8.4 review at Pitchfork for really kickstarting The Books’ career. Richardson captured what still is so readily wonderful about The Books: There is just so much mystery to discover. Once you drop into the album and get your bearings, there’s the appearance of freak folk, musique concrète, electro-acoustic neo-classical, and cafe indie. But the songs shift in and out of form as if each measure of music was a replica made out of a million grains of sand.