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The art of travel writing is not a novel approach for new pan-European project Guidebooks.

It makes perfect sense, of course. When Nottingham/Chicago acoustic duo Rue Royale and Northern Irish/Berlin producer Paul Pilot’s paths first crossed in 2009, their love for transportation-themed names wasn’t the only thing they shared. A combined creative restlessness meant collaboration was inevitable.

Paul prodded husband and wife outfit Ruth and Brookln Dekker into experimental waters during sessions for their second, current, LP ‘Guide To An Escape’ (which he also mixed).

When Paul bumped into Tele and Geschmeido drummer Stefan Wittich in Berlin, they discovered a shared enthusiasm in electronic music and classic song-crafting plus a desire to fuse the two. The lineup was completed and the four began to experiment in earnest.

Between East Midlands-based Rue Royale’s relentless European gigging, Paul’s producer/composer work in the UK and Germany and Stefan´s hectic diary of drumming duties in both Europe and Asia, Guidebooks’ content pages began to fall into place – one word at a time.

The sample-based songwriting involved a painstaking process of collecting sounds – often while on the road. Snippets of snatched sounds, music shop instruments and sub-bass burblings were all stitched into a warm sonic rug, cut with roomy live drums, freefalling Tremolo guitars and bold vocal melodies.  Some (unnamed) band members were nearly arrested for loitering with a tape recorder outside a piano factory, but work continued unhindered.

Paul says: “We had the idea to create music based around tonal samples, with these sounds forming a structure for the band to inhabit.  The samples were to carry the atmosphere, but not necessarily the groove, of hip hop and the structure, but not the limitations, of electronic music.  We wanted to see how far from home our guys-with-guitars mindsets could travel.  We’ve managed to get into an exciting, new place for our music but feel like we’ve only just begun an interesting journey.”

Guidebooks’ debut five-track ‘In The Future’ EP is released in June with plans for a follow-up already in the pipeline and, naturally, a tour scheduled for October.

“We can’t help but be in motion,” sing Ruth and Brookln on “Reach Out”. That’s the flip sides of glimpsing-but-not-quite-grasping balanced with the excitement of adventuring anew with like-minded companions.

You can hear Guidebooks shedding their wing mirrors as they launch into the unknown, heading for home.

Peter Bate, May 2012