Paul de Jong is best known as the cofounder, cellist and resident found sound savant of the beloved, defunct collage-pop duo, the Books. Five years after that band delivered their final album, The Way Out, to much acclaim, de Jong delivers his first solo album, IF.
IF sets the Books' early albums (particularly The Lemon of Pink) as a starting point, and elevates that beguiling sense of wonder and amazement to genuinely transcendent new heights. De Jong's ability to find the musical in the mundane has always been uncanny — it is part of what made the Books so magical – and that gift is what makes IF such a marvelous curiosity, and such a true pleasure to hear. In de Jong’s world, everything around him is a potential instrument: his mind-bogglingly vast collection of forgotten private press regional folk records, spoken-word oddities of indeterminate origin unearthed in discarded thrift store piles, and various everyday household utensils that we tend to take for granted. One man’s trash is de Jong’s tool to craft yet another treasure.
Featuring a handful of friends and family as musical guests, IF steers a course from joyously eccentric folk-pop to humorously inside-out jazz, resulting in a refreshing piece of outsider art with a replay value that's off the charts.