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How Paul de Jong Found Reinvention in His Archive of Sound

The digital impulse is more evident on IF, it's nonetheless easy to draw a line from the Books' work to de Jong's newest release. Over 4 well-known albums, de Jong and Zammuto developed their own genre.

IF holds to all that odd wonder, tasting, among other things, auctioneers and sped-up diatribes against snakes. The record exposes de Jong as having actually been not just the cellist however also the curator in the Books, hand-picking the most resonant bits from his vast collection and tweaking them through an electronic scheme. This is how he speaks to his listeners not in his own voice, however via the caring, witty presentation of products that may otherwise be lost.

De Jong has digitized the thousands of uncommon vinyl, cassette, VHS, and celluloid materials that make up the found-sounds archive from which he draws material, he's kept all the physical media. An obsessed collector since his youth, he comes from a family he describes as "art addicts," who gifted him a four-speed record player and a box of seven-inches that consisted of symphonic music, Beatles songs, and ads for medical items that his daddy, a physician, had actually gotten as promotional material.

" That mix introduced me to the marvels of tape-recorded sound. It altered my world real fast," he remembers. Thanks to public subsidies, the 1970s cultural landscape of his native Netherlands was inviting to experimentation, especially the blending of jazz and classical into brand-new formats. De Jong produced oddball productions of his own, consisting of a series of profane phase pieces with the pianist Reinier van Houdt, who became a longtime collaborator. "We played classical music and new music in a rather severe fashion, I think, typically with an absurdist streak," van Houdt keeps in mind.

Van Houdt now performs in similar avant-garde act Current 93 and helped de Jong organize IF for a four-person ensemble, which they performed at Joe's Pub in January. "His music is lovely however likewise has this edge to it the feeling that the surface is deceiving. [That is what] holds a long lasting fascination," van Houdt says. "His playing has that peculiar combination of austere and psychological, conceptual and amusing. What strikes me most is that Paul is one of those artists that is seduced by his product."

Hoping to provide that very same sense of seduction to other artists, last summertime de Jong opened his upstate archive, the Mall of Found, to artists in house at neighboring Hampshire College. "I realized that there is about ten thousand times more stuff than I'll ever use. And not only that the way I handle this material will always be entirely different from anything anybody else will do with it," de Jong says.

Multimedia artist and women's history major E. Saffronia Downing was one of the very first residents. Though her work is significantly various from de Jong's, she discovered lots of product in the archive. "My work follows the thread of women's trauma throughout time, place, and experience," she says. "I entered into the archive without a strategy [and found VHS] titles that captured my interest: Protecting Your Newborn, Experiencing the Father's Embrace, Pornography: Addictive, Progressive, and Deadly."

Throughout her time there, she paid attention to de Jong play his cello in the next room, and he would often sit in on reviews and supply valuable feedback. Writer and filmmaker Glynnis Eldridge, who also made use of the archive, says that existing "seemed like an extension of Paul, as though I was inside the innovative part of his brain." This charitable collector's spirit also runs through de Jong's work, which welcomes listeners to delight in the very same profound discoveries he's made about human nature by way of outmoded media.

De Jong states that in spite of the lapse in time in between the end of the Books and the release of IF, his 2nd solo album will not take rather so long; he's currently working on brand-new material, some of which will make its method into his National Sawdust set. As for a reunion with Zammuto, de Jong states he hasn't truly allowed himself to think about that possibility.

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