Books on Tape – Throw Down Your Laptops

Books on Tape
Throw Down Your Laptops

Todd Drootin, otherwise known as Books on Tape, is one of those mad musical geniuses who has taken several styles of music, shaken, stirred, and come up with something unique. The programmed, electronic beat-driven music on Throw Down Your Laptops has a lot in common with electronica, at least on the surface, but Drootin’s execution is unconventional. While most electronica has a tendency to be pretentious, haughty, and oh-so-very “European sounding,” this disc is the exact opposite. The beats are big and bold, shoved in your face in the proud tradition of punk or rock music. Occasionally, the cold electronic sound is augmented by guitars (though these are possibly electronically generated too), which helps give the music a more human, earthy feel to it
Throw Down Your Laptops does maintain a lot of the traits that make electronic music enjoyable: careful arrangements, slow-building layers of sounds, and lot of texture. While the songs are long (probably too long for my liking), I found that for the most part boredom was staved off by the musical variety. The beats start and stop occasionally, allowing the more subtle elements of the music to shine through for a few moments. Tracks like “Dance of the Drum Cadets” are amazingly aggressive and ever-mutating. While the beat is consistent throughout the song, no section is alike – don’t expect a verse-chorus-verse structure here.
Least enjoyable to me are the handful of tracks that feature vocals, courtesy of guest vocalists. The rough, rap-rock chanting style doesn’t suit the vibe of the rest of the music, in my opinion. The instrumental tracks are able to stand on their own and don’t need human intervention. Nitpicking aside, this disc makes for an enjoyable, quirky listening experience for those of us with eclectic musical tastes.