I have noticed in quite a few articles I read that Radiohead and Bjork fans are kind of lumped together...Also, I noticed that alot of the same folks who like Radiohead, also like Bjork...so am crazy or right?
Originally Posted by TomAz
Reviewers who note the size of the crowd are dumb fucks.
I have noticed in quite a few articles I read that Radiohead and Bjork fans are kind of lumped together...
like this one in the paper the other day:
In an Eclectic Concert Series, a Meeting of Rock and Classical Composers
By ALLAN KOZINN
Published: January 16, 2008
With all the fuss over Radiohead’s new “In Rainbows” album, with its pay-what-you-want downloading policy in the fall, and its CD version topping the charts last week, fans of the band might miss another significant milestone for the group, or at least for one of its players. On Wednesday and Thursday the innovative, genre-mixing Wordless Music series will present the first American performance of “Popcorn Superhet Receiver,” a 2005 string orchestra work by Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead’s lead guitarist, on a program with music by John Adams and Gavin Bryars.
“When I read that the BBC Orchestra had given the premiere of a commissioned work by Jonny Greenwood,” said Ronen Givony, the 29-year old founder and director of Wordless Music, “I thought, ‘Oh wow, I’ve got to get in on that.’ So I wrote to Radiohead’s management, thinking: ‘I’m just some kid in New York with this little threadbare series. Surely Esa-Pekka Salonen and 10 other conductors and orchestras already have this in the pipeline.’ But I got an e-mail back the same day, saying, ‘No, you’re actually the first person who’s asked me about this.’ ”
In a way this is a peculiar program for Wordless Music, now in the middle of its second season. Most of Mr. Givony’s concerts have offered both indie rock bands (or members of more famous groups in solo spinoffs) and classical performers, an expression of Mr. Givony’s conviction, as a longtime rock fan and newcomer to classical music, that anyone who likes Bjork, Radiohead or other experimental pop would also enjoy classical pieces.
Mr. Givony’s first concert, in September 2006, brought Glenn Kotche and Nels Cline, from Wilco, together with the pianist Jenny Lin, who played works by Ligeti, Shostakovich and Elliott Sharp. At a concert this season the band Beirut was the main draw, but the bill also included Fifth Veil performing Osvaldo Golijov’s clarinet quintet, “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.”
But this week’s program is devoted entirely to contemporary classical works, performed by an ensemble of 50 musicians, with Brad Lubman conducting. Mr. Greenwood is the obvious link to rock, but his score is more akin to early Penderecki or Stockhausen than to what he does with Radiohead, even at the band’s most exploratory.
It also sounds more like a contemporary classical work than most pieces by rock stars moonlighting as concert composers. Where Paul McCartney’s orchestral works have lingered in the neo-Romantic corners of the early 20th century, and Elvis Costello’s recent ballet score was in the spirit of Debussy and Ravel, Mr. Greenwood offers a gritty work for 36 strings, each playing a distinct line. At times his chords are extremely dense, with every note of the scale stacked together, although in different octaves.
“New music was always a big deal to me, growing up,” Mr. Greenwood said recently by telephone from his studio in Oxford, England. “To me it just made sense that I had Pixies records and Messiaen’s ‘Turangalîla Symphony.’ I started thinking of them in the same way, really.”
Mr. Greenwood said he first heard Messiaen in the mid-1980s, when he was 13 or 14 and taking a music class. (He is now 36.) He also played the viola in his school orchestra.
“One day a teacher played us some Messiaen, and told us a bit about him and that at the time he was still alive,” Mr. Greenwood recalled. “I thought the music was amazing, and that it was great to know that he was still writing it. That was very important to me. I thought I could never do anything like that. But it didn’t stop me from being obsessed with it any more than knowing I could never play jazz stopped me being into Miles Davis.”
Mr. Greenwood has been flirting with classical composition for the last several years. In Radiohead he has complemented his guitar with an ondes Martenot, an electronic instrument used in several Messiaen scores. His first solo album, “Bodysong” (2003), included pieces for string quartet and percussion. In 2004 the BBC appointed him composer in residence. “Smear,” a work for orchestra and ondes Martenot, had its premiere that year, and “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” followed in 2005. Sections of the work also turn up in his orchestral film score for “There Will Be Blood,” just released on Nonesuch.
“Popcorn Superhet Receiver” — its title taken from a shortwave radio catalog — is an exploration of “white noise,” a form of electronic noise that embraces every audible frequency and can sound like hissing or static. In its purest form, all frequencies are heard at the same intensity, but Mr. Greenwood takes artistic license: even when the chords are at their densest, melodies emerge as the strings change pitches.
“Popcorn Superhet Receiver” could easily have been an electronic piece instead of an orchestral score. Mr. Greenwood began work on it by recording himself playing every available note on the viola. Then, using Pro Tools, a flexible digital editing program, he configured those notes into a piece on 36 separate tracks (one for each instrumental line) and shaped the attacks, releases and dynamics of each note. Once the recording was complete, he transcribed it the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper.
“I went in trying for it to be like a pure electronic experience, just sounding like white noise coming from the stage.” Mr. Greenwood said. “But at the first rehearsal, it was obvious that that’s impossible. So I had to start again and just turn it into a celebration of the fact that you can’t get this blank mutual hiss from an orchestra. Instead, you get what sound like melodies and chords going on, just as an extension of what people are doing. And once you’re in a room hearing it, it’s a beautiful thing.”
“I really enjoy the imperfections of having 36 people trying to play together, and knowing the idiosyncrasies of each player,” he continued. “I have melodic chords poking out of this fog of white noise and then receding into it, and just having other frequencies fighting to get through. Again, it’s looking for things slightly wrong. Because even when you get them trying to play at the same level as each other, there will be little spikes, where one is playing too loudly, and that tends to be what I was more interested in.”
Mr. Greenwood won the Listeners’ Award at the BBC British Composer Awards in 2006 for “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” and was commissioned to write a new work as part of the prize. His plan is to write a work for cello and strings, perhaps with percussion. And he hopes to continue writing a piece or two a year.
“It’s weird,” he said. “You spend weeks and weeks in preparation, and you think, why is this worth it? And you’re just hearing a nasty computer version of what you’re writing, or just trying to imagine it. And then suddenly you’re hearing the orchestra play, and it’s a real kick. It’s an addictive thing. You can forget, if you spend too long away from actually hearing an orchestra play, but it’s a magical world, and it’s like no other sound on the planet really.”
Has he considered taking up the baton and conducting these pieces himself?
“No, that would be just awful,” he said. “You need to have a steely glare. I tried conducting at a Radiohead string session, and instead of telling people when to come in, I was just vaguely suggesting that if they’d like to begin at some point, that would be great. And you can’t do that.”
Jonny Greenwood’s “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” will be performed by the Wordless Music Orchestra on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Columbus Avenue at 60th Street; wordlessmusic.org.
Funny enough Tom, THIS was the article that finally got me thinking about the poll...
did you see the review? the NYT likes it a lot.
A Long Way From Radiohead (or Maybe Not So Long)
By ALLAN KOZINN
Published: January 18, 2008
Wordless Music, a series now in its second season, is an experiment in genre mixing that has shown what can be done when you value imagination more than formats and rules. Usually matching rock bands with classical chamber groups, the program has built a following among young listeners on both sides of the street.
Its Wednesday evening concert at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle near Columbus Circle pushed the experiment further by devoting an entire evening to contemporary chamber orchestra works. The lure for listeners who normally attend for the rock offerings was the American premiere of “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” (2005), a gritty, energetic string orchestra work by Jonny Greenwood, the lead guitarist of Radiohead.
The gamble paid off. The church was packed, and the audience — not the usual faces seen at classical or even new-music concerts — sat in rapt silence through Mr. Greenwood’s work and early Minimalist scores by Gavin Bryars and John Adams. As it turned out, Mr. Greenwood’s 20-minute work was by far the most viscerally exciting and intellectually engaging of the three.
Mr. Greenwood has described “Popcorn Superhet Receiver,” named for a shortwave radio, as a study in white noise, the electronic whoosh you hear between radio stations. But it also contrasts old and new technologies: white noise is approximated by antique instruments made of wood, horsehair and catgut.
And where pure white noise is an undifferentiated hiss, Mr. Greenwood’s score, even at its most densely atonal, has a consistently alluring shimmer and embraces everything from lush vibrato, glissandos and sudden dynamic shifts to slowly rising chromatic themes. Toward the end his clusters give way to a prismatic full-orchestra pizzicato section: imagine the scherzo of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony on steroids, or acid, or both.
If Mr. Greenwood’s work looked at technology, Mr. Adams’s “Christian Zeal and Activity” (1973) used technology to comment on faith, and Mr. Bryars’s “Sinking of the Titanic” (1969) examined the intersection of faith and technology.
In the Bryars technological hubris is offset by a glimpse of the band playing a hymn as the supposedly unsinkable ship sinks: a glimpse extended to 45 minutes by repetitions of the hymn, with overlays of taped scraping, sliding, crashing and chirping sounds, and vocal and instrumental improvisation. The Adams also uses a doleful orchestral hymn as its musical substance, juxtaposed with a manipulated tape of an ecstatic preacher, in the spirit of Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” (but without the phasing effects).
Brad Lubman conducted the Wordless Music Orchestra in the Adams and Greenwood works; the Bryars was unconducted.
Never seen Radiohead live, it was supposed to happen this year.............................................. .................................................. ............................................I haven't counted them all the way out yet.
I saw Bjork in '96 at the Tibetan Freedom Concert and she was amazing, but I haven't put forth the effort to see her again. I have seen Radiohead 5 times, starting in '97 and I will always make every effort to see them, THEY RAWK !!!
10/29 Hot Chip @ The Fox Theatre
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11/13 Mr Little Jeans @ The Rickshaw Stop
11/20 Keep Shelly in Athens @ Awaken