Every year in libraries across the nation there is a week dedicated to banned books and we are no exception. But at the SPC Gibbs Library it’s always band book week in the Retro Joe’s study area. Nestled among record players, mixers, and even an old juke box resides a collection of books under the name 33 1/3. (The number 33 1/3 refers to the speed at which a full length vinyl record must be played at to sound correct.) Each book in this wonderful little collection spotlights a specific band, album, or musical style written by an author who researched and possibly interviewed the members of the band or the recording engineer.
One example is a 33 1/3 book written about the album Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys. This album was meant to be a big hit following their huge release License to Ill but after major set-backs, mishaps, and self sabotage they managed to release the album to a fairly tepid response. The story of how and why is covered in this particular volume and the album went on to define the use of sampling. (they used so many that it would be impossible today because of copy-right infringement and in fact this album helped to clarify how much of a song or beat you could use without payment compensation.) Now looking back the album is considered ground breaking in the hip-hop and pop arena and is still referenced to this day.
Another book written about the album ( ) and that is indeed the album’s name, by Sigur Ros describes how the band achieves it’s unique characteristic sound by recording in unusual locations such as an empty pool and using violin bows and e-bows on guitars. The resulting music is an ethereal soundscape with an almost movie-like quality that reflects the band’s Icelandic roots with a style that’s all their own.
But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself what 33 1/3 books we might have about your favorite record or CD. Drop in to the second floor and head for the fifties diner looking study room and have a look around.