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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

No problem on lower slopes

POP EXPLORED. Part two. To understand this post, please read the previous post (Strap on the crampons) first - for my sake. Below are my reactions to three Radiohead tracks

General. Pleasantly surprised by restrained style of first two tracks. Music influenced by John Adams (Shaker loops, etc). Rhythm mainly dominates any putative melody. Vocals unassertive, even timid. Nasal falsetto voice is unchanging and denies me a sense of the lyrics. Difficult to imagine the pieces being offered in a large arena without losing their intimacy.

Lotus flower (6.08 min) Starts with extremely low-frequency synthesised sound or, perhaps, electronically modified single guitar note. To which is added metallic tinkle and then conventional (but very limited) snare drum. The repeated theme comprises no more than six separate notes. The mood is reflective, the lyrics impenetrable and the shrunken dynamics reduce expectations to the point of dullness.

Supercollider (7.10 min). I was drawn by the name but any particle research is undetectable. Remarkably long, non-vocal introduction consisting of repetitive, driving synthesiser overlaid with a more substantial repeated metallic phrase. Melody much better established; the voice (I’m starting to conclude I’m not meant to decode the words) acting as filigree to the instrumentation. Could listen to this again.

Jigsaw falling into place (7 min). Identifiable lead guitar with hugely booming bass guitar. Vocal line later includes ensemble but is virtually reduced to nah-nahs. Some words (“Take my hand just as you play my favourite song”) can be recognised. Gradually the two guitars fuse into a single sound. At halfway point sound increases and I have to turn down the volume. Increases again and this time I turn it off.

Mrs LdP, in next room, generally unsympathetic – unspecifically critical.

3 comments:

Plutarch said...

While composing an apology for my unexpected and unsought illustrated appearance as a disciple, I mean follower, next to the masthead of Tone Deaf, I found myself listening to my only Radiohead disc "Hail to the Thief". I like the words possibly because the producers courteously include the "lyrics" and I was able to read them. I wonder whether they are more important than the music. One of my failings is seldom to be able to catch many of the words of a song. I for one need Tone Deaf for that reason and because, much as I love music, I seem unable to know or decide what is good enough to recommend to anyone else, for fear of being considered naive or ignorant. I need terms of reference, scales of appreciation to compare with my own tentative leanings.
That's from someone who can't refrain from recommending books and pictures.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Plutarch: I appreciate that. Alas my listening was done via YouTube and thus I'd no immediate access to the words. I'm not actually blaming Radiohead since if I'd been listening to Cosi fan Tutte for the first time I'd have had the same problem. Had I felt like issuing any blame I'd have been blaming myself since Lorenzo da Ponte wrote the words. Something I intend to blog about some time or another. I'm impressed that you have a Radiohead disc.

Plutarch said...

I'm impressed that I have a Radiohead disc. It is sadly typical of the way I come to music: on a whim prompted by something I read or hear. There is no plan or broad purpose.