I have DirecTV and there is channel called Palladia that often shows a variety of live musical performances. The following is a running diary of my initial viewing of “From The Basement: Radiohead: The King of Limbs.” Basically, it’s Radiohead performing in a recording studio with no viewable audience.
Right off the bat it’s awesome. We got Portishead alum Clive Deamer rocking the drum pads and Jonny Greenwood on the snares, couple of horn players, and an oddly syncopated structure. Love the freakin bass line on this. Sounds like something off a Coltrane record. How in the hell do these guys do it? Guess now I can watch and see.
Starts as a classic Radiohead piano ballad, which means I love it, cause the Neil fan in me always has a soft spot for em. I fall for them every time. How I would love to be able to switch up instruments each song, add some extra musicians to jam with, and make it all work practically flawlessly.
Just turned it up even more, low-end is deep on it. I think im watching what might have happened if Floyd never broke up.
“Little By Little”
Have to say I love their usage of the dual drummer/electro-instrumentalist. What if you could make one person play as an entire band? Like those one-man bands you’d see at Great Adventure. I suppose that’s called a DJ. I also just started thinking about how it’s really gotten to the point where you can’t describe what Radiohead sounds like. Their influences are all over the place and they really don’t sound like any other band, current or past.
This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Ok, I’ll admit it, the band does sometimes tend to look on the somber side at points during this particular segment, but what do you want them to do during an intro like that? Jump up and down? Let’s just chalk it up as a result of the intensity it must feel like to perform in Radiohead. At any point do you think Ed O’Brien thinks to himself: “holy shit, were fuckin good!”
Colin Greenwood is an underrated bass player and crucial element in the engine that is Radiohead. His sparsity is perfectly blended into the beats at the right moment. He totally works off the beat. Layers. These guys are the masters of layers.
Probably is my favorite track on the album. It’s the chorus I really dig. Again, how much fun would it be to play in this band? Every now and again they show some funk elements, it’s subtle, but it’s there. You know how you can judge a good band? When their song’s can’t be as easily covered as “Down By The River.”
Sometimes I wonder why Radiohead are even called a rock band and not an electronic act? I know they combine the two often but this particular album is laced with dance beats and synthetic sounds. Yet they somehow always sound so organic.
“Morning Mr. Magpie”
I always feel bad for drummers not named Grohl, Bonham, or Moon because they seldom get much air time in rock videos or live performances. I’ve seen more of Clive Deamer in this show than Phil Selway…and Phil’s actually a member of the band. Perhaps Phil likes it that way. Guys named Phil tend to do lots of strange things.
“Give Up The Ghost”
Love the old school tape machine playing birds chirping and Dark Side of the Moon-esque heartbeat. Yet something else these guys pull off with relative ease. Playing in bands growing up there weren’t many ways to get birds chirping in your music unless you were literally playing outside. Do kids play outside anymore? And it wasn’t exactly easy to pull off live tape loops and delays either.