The Way Out, The Books’ first album in five years, won’t be released until July 2010, but Big Ears audiences were able to preview some of the new songs on Saturday. The duo opened for Bang On A Can All-Stars, who headlined Tennessee Theatre with their performance of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.Â The bill was fitting considering Eno is a huge fan of the Massachusetts-based electronic group.
As usual, the videos that accompany The Books’ performance were as interesting as the songs, acting less as music videos and more as an integral facet of the music. The Books create their live experience from a Frankenstein-My Life in the Bush of Ghosts-approach, integrating tapes found in thrift stores with original music to form a unique “sound pastiche.”Â The new song “A Chain of Missing Links”Â for example, combines hypnotherapy instructional tapes and education videos on the circulatory system, while “A Cold Freezing Night” turned audio from hundreds of Talk Boy tapes into a diabolical conversation between a brother and sister.
The band was followed by the always amazing Bang on a Can All-Stars, who performed an original arrangement of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.Â In all honesty, I have never listened to Music for Airports so I have no basis for comparison, but the 6-piece ensemble arranged the album into four gorgeous movements that were both meditative and stunning.