Though the news of Radiohead's yearlong sabbatical could potentially induce worry in the minds of ardent fans, recent developments have proven that it might still be a fruitful year for the innovative alternative rock band. Guitarist Johnny Greenwood recently wrote an article for The Guardian detailing his exploits during this year apart. He has delved into classical performance, playing live with premiere ensembles like the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the London Contemporary Orchestra. The musician admits that these forays have inspired new perspectives on live music: “It's intended for concerts instead of recordings, which is a new way of thinking about music for me.”
Greenwood then gets into his new appreciation for the intimate and transient nature of this style:
“It's a very affecting thing to be in the same room as these musicians – a little embarrassing, even. You're being shown something so personal, especially with chamber music, that it's almost awkward. Listening to the ACO rehearse Shostakovich string quartets was the musical highlight of my trip to Australia, and watching the LCO play is a thrilling experience that recordings can't match.”
“I love the impermanence of the music live: it's played in the room – which is itself infinitely variable from one concert to another – and then it's gone, soaked into the walls. Unlike recordings, it isn't identical to the previous performance or the next one. It can go slightly (or badly) wrong at any time. And all that is shared equally by everyone in the room.”
To progress Greenwood’s insight into the music’s variability, any one piece can then be interpreted—and subsequently manipulated—to achieve differing realizations of that same song. Conductors have been reinterpreting and rearranging pieces for years; it's the classic equivalent of the modern cover.
And to Greenwood’s ultimate point, that the music is shared equally amongst all those contributing—perhaps we will bare witness to that concept in the next installation of Radiohead material. Hopefully the individual growth of each member will enrich the already sumptuous, affecting tunes of the English quintet.
The most recent indication of independent musical ventures was just confirmed today: Radiohead’s Phil Selway will release a new solo album, Weatherhouse, on October 7. The 10-track LP will follow the drummer’s 2010 solo debut Familial and 2011’s Running Blind EP. The tracklist can be found below:
01. Coming up for Air
02. Around Again
03. Let It Go
04. Miles Away
06. It Will End in Tears
07. Don’t Go Now
08. Drawn to the Light
09. Waiting for a Sign
10. Turning It Inside Out