A weekend after Radiohead's “The King Of Limbs” came out, it occurs to me that there’s an interesting experiment to be done sometime about how our responses change to a record over time. Maybe we should do a real-time live blog run-through of the album every Friday for the next six months and see how opinions evolve?
A weekend after Radiohead‘s “The King Of Limbs” came out, it occurs to me that there’s an interesting experiment to be done sometime about how our responses change to a record over time. Maybe we should do a real-time live blog run-through of the album every Friday for the next six months and see how opinions evolve?
My suspicion is that I’d just keep writing “very Flying Lotus” and “liking this a lot”, ad nauseam, and also that a forensic obsession with one record might be somewhat against the spirit of this blog. The ongoing story of how “The King Of Limbs” – or any record, really – will be heard is potentially fascinating, though, assuming that at least a few people will continue to engage with it after Friday’s frenzy. I can say for sure that Uncut, at least, will be mapping that to some degree: our review for the magazine won’t be written for another couple of weeks at least, which should open up some radically different perspectives.
All that said, a good weekend of listening hasn’t made me rethink much the ideas I bashed out on Friday, apart from wishing that some of them were expressed more coherently. It still sounds brilliant, I think, and increasingly accessible and memorable. As suspected, “King Of Limbs” is packed with hooks, nowhere near as discreet as they initially appeared: “Lotus Flower” of course, but also “Codex” (in the same way that “Pyramid Song” gradually seemed to shift from a gaseous to solid state), “Separator”, “Little By Little” and especially “Give Up The Ghost”.
There’s an intriguing suggestion from Nigel on the last blog that the latter is related in some way to Neil Young’s “Through My Sails”. I haven’t had a chance to check this on “Zuma”, but the fact that I’ve been loosely associating “Give Up The Ghost” with Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air” points up that, at heart, there remains a certain classicism to these songs, however much they might at first seem to have been deconstructed. Even after it’s been removed, you can still detect where the scaffolding stood.
I’ve been thinking, too, about some of the issues raised in the posts from Sam and Kris, about developing relationships with Radiohead’s music and about how a band and a listener can follow very different paths to reach the same place: in other words, there’s no hypocrisy or embarrassment in getting into Radiohead at a relatively late stage, even if what they’re doing now is evidence of a very gradual, but logical, evolution. But then I would say that.
I do wonder, though, whether I should start again working backwards: whether I can follow the things I like now through the records I didn’t like at the time. The obvious one to work on, I think, is “Kid A”, which a decade or whatever ago I dismissed rather sniffily as a bunch of old Warp and post-rock ideas repackaged for a bigger audience. I usually claim that they sounded too self-conscious back then, too much in thrall to those influences. But as “Feral” plays right now, I have a grave – possibly pleasurable – suspicion I might, to coin a phrase, be wrong.
Talking of old Warp records anyhow, the other record I played this weekend a lot reminded me plenty of Boards Of Canada. “Earth Grid” is the second album by Zomes – I wrote about their/his self-titled one here – this time on Thrill Jockey, who seem to be signing up no end of artists I regularly write about. Anyhow, Zomes is basically Asa Osbourne, once of Lungfish, who now makes heavily-distorted little loops and drones, stunned miniature instrumentals that seem imbued with some obscure incantatory properties.
The Boards Of Canada reference isn’t immediately apparent, but the tight focus of each track has definite affinities with “Music Has The Right To Children”, but even more there’s a kind of decayed filtering going on that, again like BOC, seems to give Zomes’ tracks the audio equivalent of a sepiatinting. Hauntology for hippies, perhaps, which sounds OK by me.