Manual Radiohead and the resistant concept album : how to disappear completely

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Indiana University Press. Additional Information. Table of Contents. Cover Download Save. Contents p.

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Acknowledgments p. Note on Musical Examples pp. Introduction pp. Notes pp.

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Bibliography pp. Select Discography p. Index pp. Purchase Buy This Book in Print. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. I'd completely had it with melody. I just wanted rhythm. All melodies to me were pure embarrassment.

Troubled by new acts he felt were imitating Radiohead, [8] Yorke believed his music had become part of a constant background noise he described as "fridge buzz", [9] and became hostile to the music media. And I couldn't handle that. Yorke became disillusioned with the "mythology" of rock music, feeling the genre had "run its course". But I felt just as emotional about it as I'd ever felt about guitar music. Yorke bought a house in Cornwall and spent his time walking the cliffs and drawing, restricting his musical activity to playing the grand piano he had recently bought.

So everything's a novelty. That's one of the reasons I wanted to get into computers and synths, because I didn't understand how the fuck they worked. I had no idea what ADSR meant. Yorke, who had the greatest control, was still facing writer's block.

His new songs were incomplete, and some consisted of little more than sounds or rhythms; few had clear verses or choruses. Brothers Jonny and Colin Greenwood expressed fear that the album might become "gratuitous But at the same time he trusted me to have an idea of what I wanted. Accepting that not every band member would play on every song caused conflict.

I'm a guitarist and suddenly it's like, well, there are no guitars on this track, or no drums. They used software such as Pro Tools and Cubase to edit and manipulate their recordings. The sessions produced about 50 reels of tape each containing 15 minutes of music, with nothing finished. In April, Radiohead resumed recording in a Gloucestershire mansion.

The lack of deadline and the number of incomplete ideas made it hard for the band to focus, and they agreed to disband if they could not agree on an album worth releasing. In July, O'Brien began keeping an online diary of Radiohead's progress.

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Though the experiment produced no finished songs, it helped convince the band of the new direction. Jonny Greenwood described the first track, " Everything in its Right Place ", as a turning point for the album recording: "We knew it had to be the first song, and everything just followed after it. Yorke had recorded a demo of " The National Anthem " when the band was still in school.

Yorke and Greenwood directed the musicians to sound like a "traffic jam"; according to Yorke, he jumped up and down so much during his conducting that he broke his foot. The strings were performed by the Orchestra of St John's and recorded in Dorchester Abbey , a 12th-century church about five miles from Radiohead's Oxfordshire studio. Feeling it "needed chaos", he experimented with found sounds and sampling.

Lansky allowed Radiohead to use the sample after Greenwood wrote to him with a copy of the song. On 19 April, Yorke wrote on Radiohead's website: "Yesterday we finished recording. I am free and happy and now I'm going for a walk in the park. Yorke said Radiohead split the work into two albums because "they cancel each other out as overall finished things.

They come from two different places, I think In some weird way I think Amnesiac gives another take on Kid A , a form of explanation. Yorke also referred to electronic dance music when talking about "Idioteque", and said that the song was "an attempt to capture that exploding beat sound where you're at the club and the PA's so loud, you know it's doing damage".

Kid A has been described as a work of electronica , [47] [48] [49] experimental rock , [50] [51] post-rock , [52] [4] alternative rock , [53] post-prog , [54] ambient , [55] and electronic rock. Yorke wrote many of Kid A ' s lyrics by cutting up words and phrases and assembling them at random, combining everyday cliches and banal observations "Where'd you park the car? Byrne turned up with pages and pages, and just picked stuff up and threw bits in all the time.

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And that's exactly how I approached Kid A. The title Kid A came from the name of one of Radiohead's sequencers. The cover was also inspired by a photograph taken during the Kosovo War depicting a square metre of snow full of the "detritus of war", such as military equipment and cigarette stains. Donwood said: "I was upset by it in a way war had never upset me before. It felt like it was happening in my street. The red swimming pool on the album spine and disc was inspired by the graphic novel Brought to Light by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz , in which the number of people killed by state terrorism is measured in gallon swimming pools filled with blood.

Donwood said this image "haunted" him during the recording of the album, calling it "a symbol of looming danger and shattered expectations". Anticipation for Kid A was high; Spin described it as the most highly anticipated rock record since Nirvana 's In Utero. At the time, the use of the internet for music promotion was not widespread, and record labels were still reliant on MTV and radio. Capitol also streamed the album through Amazon, MTV.


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Three weeks before release, Kid A was leaked online and shared on the peer-to-peer service Napster. Asked whether he believed Napster had damaged sales, Capitol president Ray Lott likened the situation to unfounded concern about home taping in the s and said: "I'm trying to sell as many Radiohead albums as possible.

If I worried about what Napster would do, I wouldn't sell as many albums. In mid, Radiohead toured the Mediterranean, performing Kid A and Amnesiac songs for the first time. Colin Greenwood said: "We played in Barcelona and the next day the entire performance was up on Napster.

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Three weeks later when we got to play in Israel the audience knew the words to all the new songs and it was wonderful. Later that year, Radiohead toured Europe in a custom-built tent without corporate logos, playing mostly new songs. The small venues sold out rapidly, attracting celebrities, and fans who camped overnight. Kid A reached number one on Amazon's sales chart, with more than 10, pre-orders.

Kid A was widely anticipated. After it had been played for critics, the Guardian wrote: "The first time you hear Kid A What are they on about? For starters, why are the guitars only on three songs? What's with all the muted electronic hums, pulses and tones? And why is Thom Yorke's voice completely indistinguishable for most of the time? Mojo wrote that "upon first listen, Kid A is just awful Kid A is the result of studio sessions in Gloucestershire where about 60 songs were started that no one had a bloody clue how to finish".

Guardian critic Adam Sweeting wrote that "even listeners raised on krautrock or Ornette Coleman will find Kid A a mystifying experience It also fails to sweep away preconceptions about Radiohead, pandering to the worst cliches about their relentless miserabilism". Guitar riffs, melodies and choruses have been replaced by diffident string-crunching, desolate wailing and juddering, repeated phrases The only thing challenging about Kid A is the very real challenge to your attention span.

Some critics felt the album was unoriginal. Beaumont asked: "Are Radiohead trying to push the experimental rock envelope, unaware that they're simply ploughing furrows dug by DJ Shadow and Brian Eno before them? AllMusic gave Kid A a favourable review, but wrote that it "never is as visionary or stunning as OK Computer , nor does it really repay the intensive time it demands in order for it to sink in". But this is pop, a music of ornery, glistening guile and honest ache, and it will feel good under your skin once you let it get there.

Spin said Kid A was "not the act of career suicide or feat of self-indulgence it will be castigated as", and predicted that fans would recognise it as Radiohead's "best and bravest" album. Also incredibly beautiful. He concluded that Radiohead "must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who". At Metacritic , which aggregates ratings from critics, Kid A has a score of 80 based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews".

In the years following its release, Kid A attracted acclaim. In , Pitchfork wrote that Kid A had "challenged and confounded" Radiohead's audience, and that it had "transformed into an intellectual symbol of sorts Owning it became 'getting it'; getting it became 'anointing it'. Nobody admits now they hated Kid A at the time Nobody wants to be the clod who didn't get it.

In a Guardian article about his critical Melody Maker review, Beaumont wrote that though his opinion had not changed, " Kid A 's status as a cultural cornerstone has proved me, if not wrong, then very much in the minority People whose opinions I trust claim it to be their favourite album ever.

How to disappear completely - Radiohead [800% Slower]

Yorke had given up on coherent lyrics so one can only guess at what he was worrying about.