This book is a very cool intersection of music, writing, photography and design. What it's not is a straightforward documentation of the band's music that holds the reader's hand and discusses the subject in the traditional rock journalist/writer fashion. The 160-page book includes a 12 track CD of unreleased music that's mostly instrumental demos, outtakes and A Ghost Is Born contenders. At $29.95, fans of the band can look at this as probably the most deluxe CD packaging ever made. Anybody interested in the band and/or unique collaborations between visual art and music will really enjoy this book. The photography and design are beautiful and interesting, even experimental, but never at the expense of legibility or what narrative there is. The book is broken up into nine chapters and seven appendices, and presents in a sometimes oblique and more visual than narrative way the band's loft where they wrote, rehearsed and recorded much of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, their collection of musical instruments, their songwriting process, their live sound, playing live, and the making of A Ghost is Born. Interspersed with the above subjects are contributions from artists and writers Bern Porter, Henry Miller, and Fred Tomaselli. Another chapter is a rather scholarly analysis of five Wilco songs, one each from their five albums. The appendices include CD liner notes and a great Walter Sear piece that includes the Sear Sound Studio Response curves that should be legally required to be clearly posted in all studios recording real musicians. There are a few glimpses into the studio methods of Jim O'Rourke, but I thought some of the more interesting anecdotes were from keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen (also co-owner with John McEntire of SOMA studios featured in Tape Op #23) and drummer Glenn Kotche and his unusual approach to drumming and percussion. This is a fresh approach to writing about music wellworthcheckingout. (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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