‘Free Translator’ by The Books

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For The Books’ new album The Way Out they’ve started a Tumblr which describes how all of their songs came to be, the hidden details that you may have never known, perhaps only told in passing at one of their concerts. Here’s a snippet of the description for the second to last song on the album called Free Translator:

For this track we took a very well known folk song (which we’ve been advised not to name) and using free translation software, we translated the text into, for example, German, then into Italian, then into French, then into Swedish and then back into English. The results were spectacular. All of the imagery became completely warped, sentence structure was geniusly scrambled, errant nouns would inexplicably enter into strange situations… it became a machine free association on the original lyrics to the point that the ‘cover’ became a new original. Who wrote the song became completely unclear at this point… it became some mass collaboration of linguists, programmers and songsmiths.

I think it’s pretty rad that they’re doing this as it’s always interesting to hear about an artists inspiration. This is almost above and beyond that.


August 3, 2010