Radiohead - The King of Limbs

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Yeah, or possibly offering up a more limited selection of tracks to fewer producers.

mh, Thursday, 10 November 2011 18:13 (six years ago) Permalink

Remixes of rock bands generally suck these days. You get the impression they're just thrown up like mashups. Someone's got a track and they paste the main vocal over the top. Job done. The best ones are when they change the whole feel and vibe of the track, but I don't really hear that on kol remixes

Glo-Vember (dog latin), Thursday, 10 November 2011 20:08 (six years ago) Permalink

Remixes of rock bands generally suck these days.


Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 10 November 2011 20:34 (six years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

i didn't hate king of limbs or anything but the basement show is much much better than the record?

― preschoolin' life (BradNelson), Sunday, July 10, 2011

this is so otm. wish i would have done it 6 months ago, but i finally got around to watching/listening to the full performance last night and came away feeling enthusiastic about most of the King of Limbs songs, if not the way they were recorded for the album.

this will probably make very little sense, but my basic thought is that all of that bullshit you'd hear around the Kid A/Amnesiac days (they're combining rock with electronic music, warp records influenced, etc) is actually starting to come to fruition with their KoL material. they've gotten so good at emulating electronic music that they've almost entered the Uncanny Valley where it's uncomfortable to listen to (on the album, at least). KoL doesn't sound like a group of guys standing around a room jamming together, it sounds like a bunch of short keyboard-generated clips that thom and jonny arranged into songs while sitting around a computer. and while i don't know the genesis of where the various sounds/clips came from (live playing vs. softsynths), the album ends up sounding very mechanical and edited, all the rough ends sanded off, and suffers because of that imo.

the live from the basement performance, on the other hand, really impresses me for a few reasons.

in their attempts to generate the instrumentation/tones/noises from the album, they naturally can't recreate it perfectly, and as a result the uncomfortable edited sheen of the album is dialed back a bit and the band emerges out of the Uncanny Valley. it's almost like Kraftwerk in reverse. For me, Kraftwerk really becomes transcendant when their music is just off the edge of the mechanical, just a touch into the human. stuff like 3:30 into "Home Computer" when the programmed snare diverts from it's strict 2s and 4s and almost gets funky for a second. historically, radiohead are sort of coming at this from the opposite direction. they started with all live instrumentation and have veered closer and closer to the purely electronic. there are times when they really sound like programmed machines on their newer material. it's kind of thrilling to me. it's almost like the man-machine ideas that Kraftwerk were striving for but had difficulty achieving live are finally possible. i'm not trying to argue that they're the first to do it or anything, but i do think they do it exceedingly well.

but emulating electronic loops using live instruments (as opposed to just using laptops) is difficult, and radiohead can't sustain that locked in feeling for too long, and the songs benefit from the slight reveal of their humanity. sometimes the human edge emerges purposefully (like on Morning Mr. Magpie when jonny occasionally interrupts his Gang of Four looped riff to lay out some Smiths-style chord washes), other times it's a subtle change in instrumentation or mixing.

and the use of two drummers (phil + portishead guy) reinforces the slight imperfections. they're both mechanical players, locked in (you can see Clive practicing to a metronome between songs in the From the Basement footage, making sure he kicks off and locks into 135BPM or whatever it might be), but when you put them together live, it's like two fine clocks that nonetheless still phase in and out of sync with each other, kind of like how even if you perfectly align a few CDs on Zaireeka, there will still be a hint of phasing in the playback because CD players don't stay perfectly in sync with each other.

none of this makes sense or is very persuasive, so apologies for tl;dr. but i'd encourage the subset of people that are generally radiohead fans but didn't really "get" KoL to check out the From the Basement show. the album is like an airbrushed senior yearbook photo of your friend where his acne is removed from the image using photoshop, the live performance is like a candid Instagram shot of the same guy hanging out in your kitchen.

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Monday, 16 January 2012 19:36 (five years ago) Permalink

oh, duh, i should have mentioned that the whole show is easily findable on youtube. just type in something like "from the basement + song", and replace "song" with one of the songs from the set:

01 Bloom
02 The Daily Mail
03 Feral
04 Little By Little
05 Codex
06 Separator
07 Lotus Flower
08 Staircase
09 Morning Mr Magpie
10 Give Up The Ghost

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Monday, 16 January 2012 20:28 (five years ago) Permalink

I was wondering if I should order the DVD but it came out while I was in Cornwall - might make ut the last media purchase I make as an employed person.

I dunno tho - I always warn ppl that attempting to draw conclusions about ~how artists work in the studio~ is pretty much just fan fiction. I don't know that stuff is assembled on a laptop and looped?

I have actually been enjoying the live clips, but more as a replacement for going to some stadium show where you see 5 ants on a stage (I haven't seen them live since South Park) Actually seeing how the songs are constructed or reconstructed is quite interesting as a music geek.

That version of Give Up The Ghost is p heartbreaking - becoming my favourite on the album - also shows it as not being constructed on a laptop but on a reel to reel tape recorder with all its wonky fallibility which I love.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 16 January 2012 21:27 (five years ago) Permalink

If I remember correctly they had a video podcast thing a while ago that I must have subscribed to and downloaded. Was this the From the Basement videos? If so, I think they're on my home computer and I should get around to watching the whole thing sometime.

mh, Monday, 16 January 2012 21:29 (five years ago) Permalink

I dunno tho - I always warn ppl that attempting to draw conclusions about ~how artists work in the studio~ is pretty much just fan fiction. I don't know that stuff is assembled on a laptop and looped?

I guess my (confusing) point is that much of KoL, particularly the first half of the album, sounds like laptop loops, regardless of whether the loops were programmed directly into the laptop or extracted from longer live takes. Whereas the live versions reveal more of the human hand behind the repetition.

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Monday, 16 January 2012 21:42 (five years ago) Permalink

weird how people use "laptop" as synonymous with making electronic music. most studios run desktops, you know? i guess it's from dudes always having macs on stage.

the third kind of dubstep (Jordan), Monday, 16 January 2012 21:47 (five years ago) Permalink

I could kind of see them doing some of the looping bits at the mixing desk, but as for composition, I'd guess it's more likely they'd just play with hardware looping pedals and such in the studio.

mh, Monday, 16 January 2012 21:52 (five years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

I want to echo ZS's comments re: the Basement performance vs. the studio album. It really opens up the songs, and much as I don't want to use the term, its much more organic feeling than the studio version and therefore far more compelling.

There's also a Live From The Basement version of "In Rainbows" which is also great.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 02:46 (five years ago) Permalink

So this was kinda boring, yeah? Moreso than anything else they've done; the audience polarization aspect was the most interesting bit. New single not bad though.

Raymond Cummings, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 05:21 (five years ago) Permalink

What new single?

Moka, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 05:58 (five years ago) Permalink

Lotus Flower and Codex are the only songs I can be bothered listening to any more.

Inevitable stupid samba mix (chap), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:51 (five years ago) Permalink


Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:53 (five years ago) Permalink

I feel it was an ok effort but the reason I didn't like it that much was because of its length. Even Ok Computer or Kid A would have felt like less important if they'd removed say the last two tracks of each, per example.

If they had released the album with Daily Mail / Staircase or Supercollider / The Butcher instead of releasing them as separate singles it would have made more of an impact on me. Since Radiohead became more 'artsy' and experimental their songs became hit or miss, so the more songs they cram in there, the better. It's all about first impressions, no? I would have rated the album an 8 instead of a 6 if Supercollider and the Daily Mail were on it. Even Staircase sounds better to me than some of the songs that did made it.

Moka, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Give Up The Ghost! That's an amazing song. I still totally rate the last 5 songs on this album.

Though I do actually wish Staircase (but not Daily Mail which is blah) and Supercollider were on it.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 23:06 (five years ago) Permalink

Ok remember that a year ago I posted a link to rearrange the tracklist in accordance to the newspaper version? ( )

Well, I was thinking about using this rearranged tracklist and adding supercollider and staircase in there to make it a 10 track album. daily mail and butcher I feel like they disrupt the overall aesthetic of the album and I'm fine with leaving them as b-sides. I was also thinking of removing Feral completely and adding Staircase in there because it sounds great in between lotus flower and little by little. Without removing any of the original tracks this is what I came up with. I think it sounds fantastic. Give it a try and tell me what you think:

1) “Lotus Flower”
2) “Feral”
3) "Staircase"
4) “Little By Little”
5) “Codex”
6) “Give Up the Ghost”
7) " Supercollider"
8) “Morning Mr Magpie”
9) “Bloom”
10) “Separator”

Moka, Thursday, 16 February 2012 06:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Just had a quick listen to the Basement sessions and eff me if they aren't a zillion times better than the studio album. I just don't like the majority of KOL - too many experiments that don't work, like bad IDM. Bloom is the prime example - listening on good headphones makes it sound WORSE because you can hear all the horrible production clicks and it sounds like a CD skipping (not in a good way).

The Invisible Superstars (dog latin), Thursday, 16 February 2012 09:59 (five years ago) Permalink

The King of Limbs is by far Radiohead's best EP.

Melissa W, Thursday, 16 February 2012 13:34 (five years ago) Permalink

RONG. That's How Am I Driving.

Wow, but atease really hate this record, don't they?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 16 February 2012 13:56 (five years ago) Permalink

I only ever listen to the Basement recordings at this point. So much so that I actually ripped them myself, edited out the studio chatter, and arranged into a playlist so I can basically pretend it is the record.

Simon H., Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:07 (five years ago) Permalink

ha, that's great. willing to share?

willem, Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:10 (five years ago) Permalink

that sounds awesome.

tmi but (Z S), Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:15 (five years ago) Permalink

love the cheapness of king of limbs, sounds homemade, like they made u a demo tape

mod flanders (m bison), Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:15 (five years ago) Permalink

Yes, homemade is a good way of putting it. It sounds very organic, the accretions of time, like it grew that way, shaggy and slightly mossy.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:20 (five years ago) Permalink

Wait, maybe that's ~Thom Yorke's hair~ I'm thinking of?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:21 (five years ago) Permalink

The Airbag EP has some great tracks on it but the tracks don't really mesh into a nice whole. Also Palo Alto is on there, and Palo Alto shouldn't be on anything.

Melissa W, Thursday, 16 February 2012 15:17 (five years ago) Permalink

Aw, I like "Palo Alto." If only for that crazy mean guitar tone.

Simon H., Thursday, 16 February 2012 17:38 (five years ago) Permalink

OMG Melissa we can no longer be friends. Palo Alto is not just one of my favourite guitar tones but also contains some of my favourite Thommist lyrical images of all time - "in a beautiful bombshell I throw myself into my work!" but also the maniacal boredom with which he repeats that "I'm ok how are YOU!" line so that it almost sounds like a threat.

Also I love the artwork / packaging so so much and also the story of Thom and Stanley getting hold of an EMI marketing research questionnaire and ~customising~ it in their special way, I just love it as an object as well as the music on it.

Also Meeting In The Aisle is still my favourite RH song ever but we've been through this before.

How can you not like Palo Alto o_0

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 16 February 2012 17:48 (five years ago) Permalink

ya Palo Alto is p all time amazing

I have one thing to say: "Roxanne Shanté" (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 16 February 2012 18:03 (five years ago) Permalink

I love Meeting in the Aisle, but Palo Alto is just annoyingly sing-songy in its melody. I know it's supposed to be, but it goes too far for me to be able to enjoy actually listening to it.

Melissa W, Thursday, 16 February 2012 20:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Ok fair enough, because that is exactly what I love about it. It's got this real nursery rhyme, playground chant aspect to the melody, especially of the choruses that really highlights and brings to the foreground the repetitive and almost nonsensical aspects of ritual interrogative conversation especially in a workplace environment.

It's also one of those songs that totally sounds like he was describing when he wad talking about getting thoughtworms/earworms (obviously he didn't use thoughtworm as a phrase but he totally described a thoughtworm) and then he said words to the effect of "yeah I get them stuck in my head until I put them in a song, then they're out of my head and into YOUR head hahahahahahaha" ::maniacal Thom giggles::

Also Jesus Christ the textures on that song, did Jonny mic up a malfunctioning radiotelescope or what?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Thursday, 16 February 2012 20:25 (five years ago) Permalink

I keep moving from city to city and I always find myself singing along Palo Alto in my first days in the place even tho I don't even have it in my ipod and I've only listened to it on the Meeting People dvd.

Moka, Thursday, 16 February 2012 20:29 (five years ago) Permalink

this clip

Moka, Thursday, 16 February 2012 20:30 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Did we actually had a poll for this album? I'm just looking at two banned threads and one joke poll.

Moka, Sunday, 4 August 2013 20:44 (four years ago) Permalink

Either way we should make one with the 4 b-sides included.

Moka, Sunday, 4 August 2013 20:45 (four years ago) Permalink

i never really got into this i guess

markers, Sunday, 4 August 2013 22:03 (four years ago) Permalink

good album. it feels quite a minor entry in their catalog though and I think that's because of its relatively short length. If they'd put The Daily Mail, Supercollider, etc. on it then I think it'd be seen as heftier.

arctic mindbath (President of the People's Republic of Antarctica), Sunday, 4 August 2013 23:22 (four years ago) Permalink

Heft is what i go to Beethoven for - I actually rank TKOL just below Kid A, my favorite. Many of their albs are bloated where TKOL does what it sets out to, does it well and moves on not a minute too late.

recordin' mofo (rattled), Monday, 5 August 2013 01:24 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't understand the hate for TKOL, the grooves that they achieve in here are excellent, they've been trying to hit this plateau for almost two decades. This is the first album where the band feel in full control of what they wanted to do, the interviews with the band sort of confirm it, they feel relaxed and happy. This might be the first RH record where Thom's interviews aren't unnecessarily cryptic.

Moka, Monday, 5 August 2013 05:32 (four years ago) Permalink

have i said this? live from the basement tkol > tkol

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Monday, 5 August 2013 06:40 (four years ago) Permalink

Serious lol at the idea of any album being improved by adding The Daily Mail to it.

Matt DC, Monday, 5 August 2013 08:51 (four years ago) Permalink

why not, Matt?

arctic mindbath (President of the People's Republic of Antarctica), Monday, 5 August 2013 10:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Xxpost yeah the LFTB version is loads better

Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Monday, 5 August 2013 10:43 (four years ago) Permalink

i'm not crazy about TKOL, i feel like "in rainbows" is the best thing they've done. when i feel like listening to radiohead i put on in rainbows. it just exudes more of warmth and accessibility that a lot of the others. despite being a radiohead stan in my college years, nowadays i feel like i almost flat out don't like ok computer, the bends, HTTT, or TKOL.

marcos, Monday, 5 August 2013 13:13 (four years ago) Permalink

Xxpost yeah the LFTB version is loads better

Agreed. It's the version of these songs that I still reach for.

doug watson, Monday, 5 August 2013 13:57 (four years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

this is still a very good, very interesting album (which has a much stronger second-half).

Daniel, Esq 2, Saturday, 1 March 2014 17:30 (three years ago) Permalink

It's interesting and good but I still can't particularly get into it.

I wish to incorporate disco into my small business (chap), Saturday, 1 March 2014 18:05 (three years ago) Permalink

i went through the typical arc. loved it; began recognizing its flaws (lack of hooks, some meandering, interesting ideas that don't always yield interesting songs); returned to it a few years later and realize, again, it's damn good.

Daniel, Esq 2, Saturday, 1 March 2014 18:08 (three years ago) Permalink

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